Petroleum has been the economic driver of Gabon since the first petroleum operations began in the first half of the 20th century. In recent years, natural gas has become increasingly important, thanks to various discoveries and the development of petrochemical and fertilizer-producing plants.
According to statistics from the International Energy Agency, Gabon has gas resources close to 28.3 billion cubic meters, which makes it a potential major player in liquefied natural gas exports. Gabon’s gas resources are mainly associated with petroleum, which require an additional stage of treatment during extraction.
The country has a growing domestic demand for energy and the planned expansion of fertilizer and petrochemical activities will translate into a significant increase in the need for natural gas, a fossil fuel appreciated by an increasingly environmental sensitive international community.
In July 2019, Perenco Oil & Gas Gabon, a historic operator in Gabon, acquired the license on the Olowi field, previously owned by Canadian Natural Resources. The agreement plans to develop the gas potential of the field, which represents approximately 2.4 million cubic meters of natural gas. This agreement was signed in line with the presidential vision which states that flaring must be considerably reduced.
Anglo-Dutch company Shell, French company Total and Italy’s Eni announced several medium scale gas discoveries in 2013, while in 2014, Shell announced a major discovery of natural gas in the Leopard-1 exploration well.
The development of natural gas is becoming a major topic for African countries due increasing interior demand for energy combined with international pressure towards a green transition. Equatorial Guinea, a neighboring country, is developing its Gas Megahub project, which consists of creating interconnections and synergies between the different countries of the region in order to accelerate the exploitation of gas resources.