Gabon (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

Total Installed Electricity Capacity (2010): 336 MW
Hydro: 55%
Thermal: 45%

Total primary energy supply (2009): 1,794 ktoe
Biofuels & waste: 61.8%
Oil and Petroleum Products:  25.6%
Gas: 8.4%
Hydro: 4.2%

Hydroelectricity dams in the country’s interior provide 166MW of electricity and serve 55% of the total demand.  The main dams at Tchimbele and Kinguele over the M’bei River provide 69MW and 56MW respectively, and Poubara on the Ogooue River produces 36MW of power.  Current supply is also bolstered by gas fired thermal plants, which account for 140 MW and a heavy fuel power station that produces 30 MW.

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Gabon is self-sufficient in its energy supply.The country is a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products. Petroleum products are the entirety of the country's energy imports/exports, and totalled 235 ktoe/10,264 ktoe in 2007 respectively.

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Extend network

Grid electricity access:

  • Urban: 40%
  • Rural: 18%
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Capacity concerns

Electricity supply is structurally in deficit owing to under-exploitation of the country’s hydroelectric potential and lack of infrastructure. The high electricity cost and the return of selective power cuts in 2010 and 2011, resulting from increasingly poor supply, highlights the urgent need to improve the power production and distribution infrastructure.

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Renewable energy

Solar energy
The Gabonese World Energy Council Member Committee reports that Gabon’s average daily insolation is roughly 4 kWh/m2, and that there are approximately 300 days of sunshine per year. Since it is impractical and expensive to connect scattered communities in this heavily forested country to the electricity grid, a solar energy programme is now supplying power to around one hundred villages, all of which have been provided with Siemens solar panels.  Under this €18 million scheme, solar power has been installed in schools, shops and homes.

Wind energy
Average wind speeds approaching 6 m/s have been observed in some areas of the country. However, little progress has been made in exploiting the technology.

Biomass energy
Gabon is a heavily-forested country, and biomass still constitutes the majority of the Total primary energy supply of the country. The government of Gabon is part of the International Centre for Carbon Sequestration and Biomass Energy, a platform which provides information on the reserach and development, financial, economic and best practices involved in biomass energy production. Palm oil has also been mooted by the government as a potential revenue stream.

Geothermal energy
No study has been conducted as to Gabon's geothermal potential, and the technology is currently unexploited in the country.

Thanks to its high rainfall and unique geography, Gabon has one of the highest potentials for hydropower in Africa. Gabon’s technically exploitable hydro potential is more than 76,000 GWh/yr, equivalent to approximately 6,000 MW. Only 1% of this potential is presently exploited.

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Energy efficiency

Total primary energy supply per capita stands at 1.39 toe. As with many nations in sub-Saharan Africa, the residential sector contributes most to final energy consumption, primarily due to the extensive use of fuel-wood, with the sector consuming over 80% of the country's biomass supply.

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Electricity market
In 1997 Gabon awarded a 20-year contract to run the state-owned electricity and water utility, the Société d'Electricité et d'Eaux du Gabon (SEEG), to France-based Veolia that expires in 2017.  SEEG ensures provision in Libreville, Port-Gentil, Franceville and other municipalities, covering roughly 90% of the country.

The concession grants Veolia a 51% share of SEEG’s capital, with the rest distributed among local investors.  Under the deal SEEG is meant to make all necessary investments to extend coverage and lower the costs of public utilities with the exception of power plants over 10MW, which remain the state’s responsibility.

Liquid fuels and gas market
Ownership of oil and gas, and all mineral rights, is vested in the State. Exploration and production companies are licensed under the Exploration and Production Contract (ESPC) established by Law No. 14/82 in January 1983, which replaced the Concession Agreement.

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The Société d'Electricité et d'Eaux du Gabon (SEEG) is state owned and vertically integrated. A small number of independent power producers (IPPs) sell electricity to the SEEG for resale to the public. In addition, companies are authorized to produce electricity for their own use.
All ownership of oil and gas is vested in the State, which is also the only titleholder of mining rights. The Mining Code was established by Law No. 15/62 (1962), Decree No. 981/PR (1970) and modified under Ordinance 45/73 (1973). The new taxation system is governed by Law No. 14/74.

Oil exploration and production licences are acquired by means of Exploration and Production Contracts.

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Energy framework

As yet, Gabon does not have a comprehensive energy framework, or a dedicated sector law. The current national energy policy is aimed at strengthening the existing power generating capacities by diversifying sources of power. The most recent revision to energy policy in the country came in 2006, with the addition of further incentives for frontier exploration in the oil sector to the Petroleum Law. Mineral and petroleum resources are designated property of the state under this law.

In February, 2008, a law was passed authorising the Gabonese government to borrow from international organisations to fund infrastructure projects, such as extension of the national grid.

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Energy debates

The government of Gabon is planning to institute a pay-as-you-pollute rule in an effort to make the oil industry reduce green house gas emissions from oil related activity.

The government is seeking to make use of industrial and urban sectors to offer opportunities, especially in waste management where a reduction in emissions is achieved through methane collection in the Libreville and Port Gentil landfills for electricity generation. As well as the  substitution of fossil fuels for renewable energies, in particular by using the country’s huge hydroelectric power potential.

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Energy studies

In order to increase electricity access in rural areas, feasibility studies are being done on micro and mini hydro stations.

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Role of government

The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Hydrocarbons ( and the Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources ( share responsibility for the energy sector.

The Oil Ministry is responsible for all regulation in the oil industry. The country has a national oil company, the Société Nationale Pétrolière Gabonaise (SNPG); however, the SNPG is not actively involved in development projects.

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Government agencies

No government agencies exist to promote or research sustainable energy. The Shell Sustainable Energy Initiative has been active in the country, but only in the field of biodiversity protection.

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Energy procedure

The Government’s ambition is to increase the current energy production capacity of 373 MW to 1200 MW by 2020. This will involve prioritizing hydroelectric power to meet the forecast demand of 1039 MW.

A new generation of hydroelectric plants is currently under construction, though these are mainly intended to support mining operations.  This is the case with the dam over the Ivindo River, which is meant to power the large-scale Belinga iron ore site.  Work on the Grand Poubara is led by China’s Sinohydro and is currently under way in the province of Haut Ogooue and is valued at EUR 56.5 million.

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Energy regulator

In 2010, the Government established a Water and Energy Sector Regulatory Agency, which is now being put into operation.

Gabon’s Oil Ministry is responsible for all regulation in the oil industry, while the electricity sector is regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources.

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Degree of independence

The president is responsible for appointing all figures within the two ministries. Funding comes directly from the governmental budget.

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Regulatory framework

As yet, Gabon does not have a dedicated law regarding renewable energy, nor any regulatory mechanism designed to promote the use of renewable energy sources.

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Regulatory roles

The Oil Ministry is responsible for overseeing operations in the oil and petroleum sector, including granting licenses to explore and produce oil, as well as efforts to increase transparency in the sector, including the establishment of an online oil databank. The Ministry of Energy is responsible for the electricity sector, but in reality, SEEG conducts the majority of its operations without governmental input.

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Energy regulation role

No other government department takes an active role in energy regulation. The Ministry of Water and Forests is responsible for the nation's arboreal reserve, and therefore indirectly the nation's biomass production capacity.

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AFDB (2011): Republic of Gabon: Country Strategy Paper 2011-2015. Available at [Accessed 5th September 2013]

Oxford Business Group (2010) The The Report: Gabon 2010. Sample of book. Available at [Accessed 5th September 2013]

IEA (2009) Share of total Primary Energy Supply, Gabon. Available at: [Accessed 5th September 2013]

FIESP,Eletrobtas and African Development Bank (2010) Energy Markets in Africa. Avaliable at: [Accessed 5th September 2013]

MBendi (2012) Oil and Gas in Gabon – Overview. Available at: [Accessed 5th September 2013] Close References