Gabon has a well-developed oil and gas industry, but has experienced declining production as the country's fields mature. This trend may eventually reverse as operators work on various exploration and development activities in 2012.

Investopedia Broker Guides: Enhance your trading with the tools from today's top online brokers.

Overview
Gabon had proved oil reserves of 3.7 billion barrels at the end of 2010, according to the BP (NYSE:BP) Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil production averaged 245,000 barrels per day in 2010, making Gabon the sixth-largest producer in Africa. Oil production has been stable here the last few years, but has been in a long-term decline from the peak level of about 365,000 barrels per day reached in 1996.

Operators
Total
(NYSE:TOT) is one of the largest producers in Gabon, with 2011 production of 58,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day. This production has been declining in recent years as producing fields mature.

Total is working on the redevelopment of the Anguille Field and recently finished installing a new platform at the field. The company plans to drill 21 development wells from this platform starting in the second quarter of 2012.

Total is active in other license areas as well. During the first quarter of 2012, it brought two wells onto production and is drilling two other wells. The company also has several exploration prospects that it expects to start drilling over the next year.

SEE: Oil And Gas Industry Primer

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A, RDS.B) is also active in Gabon and reported production of 65,000 barrels of oil per day from five oil and gas fields in Gabon.

Addax Petroleum has interests in five areas located in both onshore and offshore Gabon. The company operates the onshore Panthere and Maghena license areas and is involved on a non-operated basis with Royal Dutch Shell on a third onshore and two offshore license areas. Addax Petroleum was acquired by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE:SNP) in 2009.

VAALCO Energy (NYSE:EGY) owns around a 28% working interest and operates the offshore Etame Marin license area. Gross oil production from here totaled 22,000 barrels per day from 10 wells as of February 2012. The company is progressing on several exploration prospects on this license area and another opportunity in the onshore.

Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE:HNR) operates the Dussafu license area and reported a successful exploration well here in 2011. The Ruche Marin-1 found 55 feet of net oil pay, and after two successful appraisal wells, the company is evaluating the results to plan a possible development program.

SEE: A Primer On Offshore Drilling

The Bottom Line
Many oil and gas operators have operations in Ghana and are actively developing existing producing fields as well as exploring in new, nearby areas. These activities will result in increased production in Gabon over the next few years.

At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    4 Countries Pleading for Higher Commodity Prices

    Discover what countries are struggling the most from the price collapse in commodities and what these countries require to return to economic growth.
  2. Investing News

    Bank Stocks: Time to Buy or Avoid? (WFC, JPM, C)

    Bank stocks have been pounded. Is this the right time to buy or should they be avoided?
  3. Stock Analysis

    Why the Bullish Are Turning Bearish

    Banks are reducing their targets for the S&P 500 for 2016. Here's why.
  4. Stock Analysis

    How to Find Quality Stocks Amid the Wreckage

    Finding companies with good earnings and hitting on all cylinders in this environment, although possible, is not easy.
  5. Stock Analysis

    Glencore Vs. Noble Group

    Read about the differences between Glencore and Noble Group, two companies in the commodities business. Learn about accounting accusations facing Noble Group.
  6. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Platinum Penny Stocks for 2016 (PLG, XPL)

    Examine five penny stocks in the platinum mining business that investors may wish to consider adding to their investment portfolios for 2016.
  7. Chart Advisor

    Watch This ETF For Signs Of A Reversal (BCX)

    Trying to determine if the commodity markets are ready for a bounce? Take a look at the analysis of this ETF to find out if now is the time to buy.
  8. Investing News

    What You Can Learn from Carl Icahn's Mistakes

    Carl Icahn has been a stellar performer in the investment world for decades, but following his lead these days could be dangerous.
  9. Investing Basics

    The Importance of Commodity Pricing in Understanding Inflation

    Commodity prices are believed to be a leading indicator of inflation, but does it always hold?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do hedge funds invest in commodities?

    There are several hedge funds that invest in commodities. Many hedge funds have broad macroeconomic strategies and invest ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center