Gabon to ban gas flaring from next year

Nov 16, 2009 01:00 AM

Oil companies operating in Gabon will be banned from flaring gas in 2010, the government said. The announcements are among the first by the team under newly-elected President Ali Ben Bongo, who became Gabon's president earlier after polls were held to replace his father who died in June after more than 40 years in power.
Having overcome short-lived but violent protests against his win, one of Ben Bongo's biggest challenges is to diversify the economy away from oil production, some 250,000 bpd last year, as reserves start dwindling.

Gabon will "rationalise the management of gas reserves by banning the flaring of these gasses by oil companies in 2010," according to a government statement read on state television by spokesman Seraphin Moundounga.
"The central African nation will instead use new techniques to recover the gas through re-injection, which will boost production on the one hand and help us respect our international commitments to sustainable development by reducing emissions. Gabon will also introduce public-private partnerships in the gas sector," the statement added.

French oil major Total is one of the biggest investors in Gabon and maintained its production there despite being targeted during anti-French violence during the post-election protests. Gabon is due to open a new oil licensing round for over 40 blocks from two of its deepwater basins in May next year. The main focus of the Licensing Round will be the highly prospective deepwater pre-salt plays in water depths that reach up to 2,000 metres or more in some areas.
Nearby Equatorial Guinea is vying to become a regional gas hub by collecting the gas from nations in the Gulf of Guinea region for processing and export as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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