Gabon officially rejoins OPEC

GABON REFINERYGabon's only oil refinery is located at Port-Gentil. (Image source: Flickr/mmsteeve)After a 22-year absence, it has been confirmed that Gabon has officially rejoined the Organization of the Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC)

Gabon's Minister of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons, Etienne Dieudonné Ngoubou met with acting OPEC Secretary-General, Abdalla Salem El-Badri and discussions included the current oil market situation, the Secretariat's main activities and the role Gabon can play within the organisation. In March this year, Gabon asked to rejoin OPEC and this was confirmed in June before officially rejoining last week. Previously, Gabon joined OPEC in 1975 before leaving in 1994.

"Gabon is delighted that it will once again be a member of OPEC after more than 20 years away," said Mr Ngoubou. "We believe we can be an active and engaged partner in OPEC's activities, as the organisation looks to meet both challenges and opportunities in the years ahead."

"We are very happy to welcome back Gabon into the OPEC group of countries," said Mr El-Badri. "We are looking forward to working with the minister and his colleagues in the coming years."

"I am also pleased to see that all the countries that had previously left the organisation have now returned," Mr El-Badri added.

The Gabonese economy is heavily dependent upon oil with crude oil makign up more than 80 per cent of the country's exports, 43 per cent of GDP and 65 per cent of state revenue. It is sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest crude producer and exporter and Sogara at Port-Gentil is the country's only oil refinery. In 2014, Gabon produced 240,000 bopd, a 35 per cent drop from the 1997 peak. Proven oil reserves were estimated last year to be at 2 bn barrels and proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 1 tcf.

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