New Market Research Report: Gabon Oil & Gas Report Q1 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Jan 23 2014

Interest in West Africa's deepwater potential remains strong, underscored by Total's recent subsalt discovery and the recent award of a number of offshore blocks to an impressive roster of companies. Although the uptick in exploration activity offshore Gabon is encouraging, the country's business environment remains a serious concern with the potential to slow or deter the rebound in interest. Notwithstanding the upside, we retain our view that oil production in Gabon is set to plateau from middecade and gradually decline. The start of some small new fields or redevelopment will fail to offset falling volumes from mature fields elsewhere.

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The main trends and developments we highlight for Gabon's oil and gas sector are as follows:

* While we expect some near-term gains in oil production, the long-term trend for Gabon's oil production is for decline as production falls from mature fields and fails to be offset by new volumes. We expect output to average around 244,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2013. While at present, we see more downside than upside risk to these figures, we note that a series of recent discoveries in Gabon's deepwater and increasingly in sub-salt acreage underscore the untapped potential of the country despite its status a mature producer.
* While Gabon was able to award prospective deepwater blocks to an impressive roster of companies, less compelling is that only 18 of 48 total blocks were awarded. With West Africa's deepwater potential attracting the interest of independents and majors, some of whom have cited preferable entry costs compared to other frontier plays such as offshore East Africa, Gabon is in a strong position to capitalise on the lure of its untapped potential. This prospectivity saw Gabon successfully award 13 oil and gas blocks to 11 companies, including: Ophir, ExxonMobil, Eni, Repsol, Marathon, Noble, Perenco, Petronas, Cobalt, Elenilto and Impact.
* The results from Total's Diamban-1B well, the country's firsts subsalt well, were promising, with the French international oil company reporting drilling intersected 49-55 metres (m) of net gas and condensate pay offshore. The find was important for Gabon, which has seen less success in deepwater drilling campaigns that its West Africa neighbours. Reports indicate Total, alongside partners Cobalt and Marathon, are targeting some 250-800mn barrels (bbl) of oil. While Total indicated the tests confirms the presence of a working hydrocarbons system, more liquids-rich discoveries will be necessary if subsalt finds are to be developed, given the limited commercial prospects for gas offshore Gabon.

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