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Gabon Coup Attempt Poses Little Risk to Oil Market


Any potential disruption to Gabon’s oil output, following a military coupattempt, would only have an impact on a small share of OPEC’s total output because the country produces so little.

Military officers seized Gabon’s state broadcaster Monday in what appeared to be a coup against ailing President Ali Bongo. The soldiers who attempted the coup have been arrested and there has been no reported disruption to the country’s oil output, which accounts for just 0.5 percent of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ total production.

Last month Gabon pumped 170,000 barrels a day, according to a Bloomberg survey of officials, analysts and ship-tracking data. Equatorial Guinea was the only member of the cartel which produced less crude. The West African republic produced around 22,000 barrels a day of petroleum products in 2017, according to OPEC data, and its oil exports were worth around $3.7 billion. This is just a fraction of the $578.3 billion total value of OPEC’s oil exports in 2017, according to the group’s data. Gabon became a full member of OPEC in 1975 but terminated its participation in 1995. It then rejoined on July 1, 2016. The country launched its 12th licensing round in November, offering 12 shallow-water and 23 deep water blocks and was due to begin a roadshow promoting the round, starting in Houston on Jan. 5.
Considering OPEC and its allies have agreed on a coordinated effort to reduce production and rebalance the market, following a 20 percent slump in Brent prices last year, any loss of Gabon’s crude is unlikely to significantly tighten the market or send prices higher. Last month, Saudi
Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, cut its crude shipments to the lowest since Bloomberg began tracking them.

Gabon’s oil industry by numbers

Production in December 170,000 b/d
Oil product output (2017) 22,000 b/d
Oil exports (2017) 188,400 b/d
Oil product exports (2017) 12,300 b/d
Value of oil exports (2017) $3.695 billion
Domestic oil demand (2017) 25,800 b/d
Production capacity 222,000 b/d

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