Marcel Abeke, Gabon’s newly appointed Minister of Petroleum, will speak at the 2023 edition of the African Energy Week conference.
Gabon, one of Africa’s most prolific oil and gas markets, possesses significant untapped offshore oil reserves, ranking sixth in African oil production. The new Government of Transition has embarked on a campaign to actively attract E&P companies with the required capacity to harness these resources. The government has also pledged to support existing operators increase output, especially gas, under efforts to advance energy security and economic growth.
With the aim of attracting capital and technology to drive project developments across the country’s oil and gas value chain, Gabon’s newly appointed Petroleum Minister Marcel Abeke will participate at this year’s edition of the African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference and exhibition ¬– the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) annual energy event scheduled for October 16-20 in Cape Town. Minister Abeke’s participation reflects the ministry’s recognition of AEW as an avenue to attract new investment into the Gabonese oil and gas sector. Minister Abeke is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in senior private sector leadership roles, especially in mining.
The new Gabonese government of transition has pledged to make great strides towards improving the operating environment in the oil and gas sector, increase transparency and reduce bureaucracy, all in an effort to drive long-term economic development. Gabon will also build on the successes of the 2019 Hydrocarbon’s Code and seek ways to improve and adapt it to changing market realities. This move it is hoped will open the door for more international E&P investments. This, is expected to entice new entrants, particularly to Gabon’s North Basin Area, known for its potential game-changing pre-salt reserves. Gabon also presents attractive opportunities for the redevelopment of mature and marginal oil fields. Consequently, the ministry is intensifying its efforts to promote innovative solutions aimed at boosting the profitability of the country’s oil production.
In line with new commercial terms encouraging investment in Gabon’s petroleum sector, juniors and independents like Assala Energy, BW Energy and Panoro Energy entered the market between 2016 and 2017, seeking to breathe new life into existing assets through enhanced oil recovery techniques, as well as explore opportunities for marginal field development. In June 2021, Gabon closed its 12th shallow and deep-water licensing round, which saw the provisional award of several blocks, with negotiations still ongoing. International Oil Companies like TotalEnergies and VAALCO Energy have prioritized nearby offshore exploration, resulting in the South Tchibala 1HB-ST discovery as recently as June 2022.
Meanwhile, French oil and gas company Maurel & Prom is planning to invest $85 million in new exploration and seismic activities in Gabon, with attention directed towards its operated onshore Ezanga Permit Fields.
On the gas front, Gabon’s Hydrocarbon Code prioritizes the monetization and utilization of natural gas. While Gabon lacks proven pure gas fields, the country possesses associated gas from oil fields that remains underutilized. Perenco, an independent oil and gas company, recently secured a billion-dollar investment for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Cap Lopez, enabling the first-ever export of Gabonese gas from offshore fields. This facility will produce 700,000 tons of LNG and 20,000 tons of butane, reducing imports and making Gabon self-sufficient. Additionally, an MoU was signed between Perenco and Gabon Power Company to construct a 21 MW gas-fired power plant in Mayumba, creating jobs and providing electricity to 80,000 households. This initiative boosts rural electrification rates, generates carbon credits, and unlocks economic potential.
This forward-looking initiative has a dual purpose: reducing gas flaring, a common industry practice, and ensuring energy security. By harnessing its gas resources, Gabon seeks to diversify its energy mix, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and create additional revenue streams. This strategic move provides a compelling opportunity for investors interested in the gas sector, aligning with Gabon’s commitment to sustainable energy development and economic growth.
Under the leadership of Abeke, the Ministry is committed to actively collaborate with various government agencies, international organizations, and industry stakeholders to maximize the oil and gas sector’s role in bolstering Gabon’s economy and ensuring energy security.
“Gabon’s oil and gas prospects are nothing short of remarkable, as it stands at the forefront of Africa’s sustainable oil and gas future. With untapped offshore oil reserves, a forward-thinking Hydrocarbon Code, Gabon is not only enhancing its energy security but also contributing significantly to regional energy sustainability,” states NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the AEC.
At AEW 2023, stakeholders will gain insights into Gabon’s promising energy developments, as Abeke highlights the country’s promising oil and gas ventures and the country’s role in Africa’s energy security and sustainability.
AEW is the AEC’s interactive exhibition and networking event that seeks to unite African energy stakeholders, drive industry growth and development, and promote Africa as the destination for African-focused events. For more information, visit www.aecweek.com