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Gabonese Government Moves To Take Over Oil Company

In a bid to take control of its own natural resources, the government of Gabon is taking over Assala Energy, which extracts 20% of the country’s 220,000-barrel daily oil production, Sputnik reports.

Originally a Shell subsidiary, Assala Energy company has been owned by the Carlyle Group Inc. since 2017. The government’s takeover will be executed by exercising its existing shareholder rights in the company.

“With a view to boost our revenue, we have decided to exercise the state’s preemptive right to purchase the oil company Assala,” Interim Gabonese President Brice Oligui Nguema said in his New Year’s televised address. This decision holds “immense national importance,” as it allows the republic to assert its autonomy in the oil industry, Nguema stated. The Gabonese oil ministry spokesman informed the media that the Gabonese government intends to exercise its preemptive right via the state-owned Gabon Oil Company.

Gabon’s takeover could be seen as part of a trend by African countries to gain more control of their resources. In March 2023 Chad nationalized all assets and rights, including exploration and production authorizations and hydrocarbon permits, previously held by a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, the nation’s energy and hydrocarbons provider. That deal also cut short an attempt by a British company, Savannah Energy, to buy the same assets. It also flies in the face of the CO2 lobby that wants Africans to leave their oil and gas in the ground.