Published on 26 July 2013

Tug of war between Addax and GOC on Obangue

Tug of war between Addax and GOC on Obangue

In the wake of the Gabonese government's requisition of the Obangue field at the end of last year, tempers are still flaring between the oil ministry under Etienne Ngoubou, Addax Petroleum (it has launched two arbitration proceedings in the affair) and the auditing concern Alex Stewart International. The Gabon Oil Co (GOC), which was founded in 2011 and is now in charge of the Obangue field, is having trouble organizing itself and hiring enough staff to operate the field.

For their part, the field's former workers have received no severance pay from the government even though Libreville pledged to pay them off. The workers have protested, offering Addax Petroleum an occasion to get its foot back in the door.

The affair has begun to raise serious problems for president Ali Bongo. The tough stance adopted by Ngoubou is being increasingly criticized in private by some civil servants and presidential advisers who fear that any decision against Libreville in the arbitration cases would be disastrous for Gabon's image among would-be foreign investors.

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