Gabon resolves long-running oil dispute
Gabon is the fifth largest liquid fuels producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, although its production is a fraction of that in the region’s two largest producers (Nigeria and Angola). However, recent developments in Gabon are promising and could pave the way for increased foreign investment and rising production levels over the next five years. The Gabonese government finally settled a long-running oil license dispute with Addax (a subsidiary of the Chinese national oil company Sinopec) in January 2014. The dispute had emerged in 2012 when the Gabonese authorities transferred the Obangue oil field to its own national oil company citing breach of contract. Gabon awarded numerous offshore oil and gas blocks as part of its much-delayed deep-water licensing round in late 2013 and resolution of the dispute with Addax will have removed an unsettling issue for current and potential investors. Separately, a new petroleum investment code, which will govern investment and trade terms in the hydrocarbon sector, is in draft form and could be finalised in 2014 and enacted by 2015.