Competing with the Majors: Gabon Oil Company Commits to African Energy Week in Cape Town, Emphasizes the Role of National Oil Companies in Africa’s Upstream Industry.

Confirmation of attendance by Dr. Odette Nzaba Makaya, CEO of state-owned Gabon Oil Company, is set to enhance African Energy Week’s oil and gas agenda by promoting the role of National Oil Companies in Africa’s energy future.  

African Energy Week (AEW) is committed to crafting a strong narrative on the role of oil and gas in Africa’s energy future, consolidated through the promotion of upstream activities continent-wide. In alignment with this agenda – and in a bid to promote Gabon’s well-established oil and gas industry – the CEO of Gabon Oil Company (GOC), Dr. Odette Nzaba Makaya, will participate in AEW 2021 in Cape Town (November 9-12), exploring the role of National Oil Companies (NOCs), exploration expansion and favorable regulatory environments in accelerating domestic production and associated economic growth.  

Accounting for more than 80% of export revenues, oil and gas remain the primary sources of energy and revenue for Gabon, which serves as Africa’s eighth-largest oil producer. The country is home to impressive resource wealth – including two billion barrels of proven oil reserves – and is aiming to expand offshore exploration, revitalize existing oilfields and drive foreign participation to mitigate declining production of mature assets. With the government adopting a more active role in the sector through the establishment of the GOC and enhanced exploration activities via the country’s 12th shallow- and deep-water licensing round in 2020, Gabon is positioning itself as a leading exploration destination and competitive African oil producer. 

On behalf of the GOC, Dr. Makaya is committed to promoting the role of NOCs in driving energy sector growth. The GOC’s primary role is managing downstream and upstream activities on behalf of the State; operating hydrocarbon deposits either independently or in partnerships; and overseeing companies that hold conventions of establishment and Production Sharing Contracts. The GOC is committed to driving growth across the oil and gas industry, and aims to promote Gabon as the ideal investment destination at AEW 2021. 

What makes Gabon a force to be reckoned with lies not only in its abundant reserves and decades of industry experience, but also its recent regulatory and structural reforms. By re-establishing the NOC and introducing a New Hydrocarbon Code, Gabon has been able to enhance the attractiveness of its oil and gas sector.  Through independent projects as well as partnerships with International Oil Companies (IOCs), the GOC is driving Gabon’s energy sector success. 

Currently, the GOC operates two oil fields in the country: the 6.2-million-barrel Remboué field – an oil site abandoned in 2009 due to economic factors but revived by the GOC in 2014 – and the Obangué field. In addition, the GOC works alongside IOCs including Tullow Energy, Perenco and Total across upstream and downstream sectors. With a renewed focus on exploration and production and revised Hydrocarbon Code that facilitates the ease of doing business, Gabon is well positioned to become a global oil competitor, supported through the participation of Dr. Makaya and the GOC at AEW 2021.  

“Representing Africa’s premier energy event whereby decisions regarding Africa’s energy future will be made, AEW 2021 is committed to driving a productive dialogue on the value of oil and gas in Africa. By participating at AEW 2021, the GOC will help drive a strong narrative on the role of NOCs in accelerating upstream activities, boosting domestic production capacity and establishing competitive energy sectors across the continent. The GOC exemplifies how indigenous and foreign oil companies can work together to fast-track energy growth, in which African nations can learn from Gabon,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. 

Meanwhile, through the updated Hydrocarbon Code that aims to further liberalize Gabon’s upstream sector and offer new financial incentives to developers, the country has attracted international investment and the participation of global oil majors, despite a lack of discoveries in recent years. Notably, the Code enhances capital and technology injections in the oil and gas industry by modernizing its framework and creating an enabling environment for investors. AEW 2021 in Cape Town represents the ideal platform to showcase Gabon, offering high-level networking opportunities to forge international partnerships, promote the achievements of the GOC and accelerate Gabon’s hydrocarbon successes. As African oil- and gas-producing markets compete for investment in a reduced capital expenditure climate, Gabon has implemented effective reforms that cement the country’s reputation as one of Africa’s leading oil and gas markets.

Gabon’s energy industry is being driven by both the GOC and a variety of regional and global oil majors. Notable sector participants include Perenco, Tullow Oil plc, TotalEnergies, Vaalco Energy, and Assala Energy. In addition to showcasing the country’s enabling regulatory environment and the achievements of the GOC, AEW 2021 provides the best platform for engagement and deal making between potential investors, interested stakeholders, and both regional and international oil and gas companies looking to capitalize on the abundant opportunities across Gabon.  

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