Until today, oil drilling in Gabon has been confined to the coastal zone and offshore fields, but now, with China as a partner, onshore drilling is taking place under the tropical canopy.
To promote the exploration and exploitation of oil, the implementation of a regulatory framework that will be attractive to investors, along with stronger control of the sector's activities and of the collection of revenue, are on the agenda.
Similarly, to underpin the oil and related industries, the duty-free zone of Mandji island, to the north of Port-Gentil, is currently under construction and will concentrate all the activities of the Gabonese oil sector. The legislative framework, for which a vote was passed in 2002 for this zone, allows companies a ten-year exemption from taxes and duties as well as registration fees and stamp duties. This legislation also stipulates that from the 11th year of exploitation, companies will be subject to tax at a ceiling of 10%. The legislation also includes fiscal incentives for investment and job creation, lower income tax for private individuals and many other commercial and customs incentives.
The flaring of gas has been prohibited in Gabon since January 2010. Since then, the sector has become more industrialised and there are investment opportunities in the latest flaring techniques.
The prohibition on gas flaring aims to favour the new recovery and reinjection techniques, which are more ecological and more profitable, in order to meet international commitments in terms of sustainable development.
Industrialization of the timber sector
The ban on the export of timber instigated by President Ali Bongo Ondimba aims to favour the domestic conversion of raw timber into goods, in order to create high added value on the products from this sector and a large number of skilled jobs. In this way, the expertise of the forestry operators and the industrialists is placed at the service of the development of added value products from raw materials through an innovative, leading-edge industry.
To accompany this measure, there was a vote in favour of the setting up of a fund to support the acceleration of the industrialization of the timber sector, endowed with 20 billion of CFA Francs, to promote the industrialization of the national forestry industry.
This opens up new opportunities for the sector and for the country, giving it a head start over the countries in the Congo Basin by becoming the major timber conversion site in the subregion and therefore a potentially larger market.
As an example, the special economic zone of Nkok will be devoted to the domestic working of timber. Offering numerous tax advantages, connected by railway and located 30 km from Libreville, this special economic zone, which was opened at the beginning of 2011, will be the jewel in the crown of the timber sector's industrialization drive.
There are many other investment opportunities related to the subsoil in Gabon, particularly through reserves of the following minerals: