Gabon deep sea licensing round gets underway
The discovery of gas condensate in a pre-salt layer earlier this year has raised expectations that Gabon is on the verge of an offshore oil windfall that could offset declining output from mature fields and provide much needed finance to the domestic economy. The government hopes that new discoveries will eventually raise oil production to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a projected 230,000 bpd in 2014. In October, Gabon awarded various offshore oil and gas blocks to a range of international oil companies as part of the current deep water licensing round. However, the introduction of a new Petroleum Code, which will govern investment and terms in the evolving hydrocarbon sector, is long overdue. The current status of the Code remains unclear, but details are likely before the end of the year given the advanced stage of the latest off shore licensing round, and is likely to affect the terms of both existing and new oil exploration and production agreements.