Etablissements Maurel & Prom (MAU), a French oil and gas explorer, denied speculation by consulting firm Eurasia Group that it may be the next target of a government crackdown in Gabon over production contracts.
Maurel “is not the subject of any tax litigation in Gabon,” the Paris-based company said today in a statement, adding that it “largely exceeds” contractual commitments in terms of exploration spending, production investment, use of local labor and support to regional development.
Gabon’s oil ministry plans to seize an oil field from China Petrochemical Corp.’s Addax Petroleum as a dispute over production contracts worsens. Gabonese Oil Minister Etienne Ngoubou will not renew Addax’s license at the Tsiengui field because it had breached the law, a ministry official said June 6. Two other companies face similar actions, the official said, declining to name them.
Maurel is one of two companies that “may also be in the crosshairs of a selective crackdown on what the government sees as the starkest cases of tax avoidance and breach of contract,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa director at Eurasia, wrote in an emailed report on June 6.
Founded in 1998, New York-based Eurasia offers worldwide research on political risk, according to its website.
Maurel “categorically denies the remarks” made by de Pontet, the French explorer said.
De Pontet couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
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