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Gabon oil production stops declining

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  • bobutne
    afrol News, 13 October - Steadily dropping since its peak in 1997, Gabon s oil production is finally experiencing a slight growth, new statistics reveal. In
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 15, 2006
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      afrol News, 13 October - Steadily dropping since its peak in 1997,
      Gabon's oil production is finally experiencing a slight growth, new
      statistics reveal. In the same period, Gabon has been reduced from
      the third to the sixth largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

      According to statistics released by the US government agency Energy
      Information Administration (EIA), Gabon's decrease in oil production
      has now stopped. During the first nine months of 2006, Gabon produced
      237,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil, EIA informs. This is a
      small increase from 2005.

      Contrasted with Gabon's 1997 peak of 371,000 bbl/d, 2006 oil
      production however has declined by 36 percent. "In part, the decline
      in production is due to maturing fields and a lack of new fields
      coming online, something that Gabon is working to change over the
      next few years," the US agency explains. Despite these efforts, EIA
      however foresees further "looming oil export declines."

      The main reason for Gabon's decreased oil production is found on its
      largest producing oil field, Shell's offshore Rabi-Kounga, which now
      only produces around 55,000 bbl/d. This is down from its 1997 peak of
      217,000 bbl/d. In an effort to extend the productive life of the
      field, Shell in 2003 however began re-injecting associated natural
      gas into the field.

      Apart from Rabi-Kounga, Gabon in fact has been successful in
      increasing its oil production during the last years. Given the
      current high world market prices, Libreville authorities have managed
      to recruit several smaller firms to bring new oil fields online in

      Vaalco, Addax Petroleum, and Sasol are involved in the Etame offshore
      field, with a current of approximately 18,000 bbl/d. In July this
      year, Addax Petroleum purchased the interests of Pan-Ocean Energy in
      Gabon for US$ 1.4 billion. The acquisition now makes Addax the
      largest producer in Gabon, with total production of more than 100,000

      Further investments are also on track. Only last month, FirstAfrica
      Oil completed initial drilling in the offshore East Orovinyare
      oilfield. The company hopes to have production from the field online
      by the third quarter of 2007. Initial production is expected at over
      7,000 bbl/d. Several onshore fields are also currently being
      explored, developed or expanded.

      Gabon was hit hard by the declining oil production, with its highly
      ineffective administration being used to almost unlimited revenues.
      Despite its small population of about 1.4 million, limited social
      spending and a very slow progress in developing infrastructure, the
      Libreville government had accumulated a debt of around US$ 3.8
      billion - debt payments now amounting to 40 percent of the annual
      government budget.

      Faced with a financial crisis, Libreville during the last two years
      has reformed its economy, increased transparency, embraced good
      governance and achieved new oil investments. In 2005, Gabon finally
      experienced sustainable growth figures, with GDP increasing by 2.7
      percent - around the same as population growth. Also inflation was
      reduced to close to nothing, following decades of hiking prices in
      the oil-driven economy.

      In 2005, Gabon registered per-capita GDP of approximately US$ 5,000,
      which is significantly higher than the sub-Saharan African average of
      US$ 1,500. However, analysts estimate that 60–70 percent of Gabonese
      live below the poverty line despite forty years of large oil exports.

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