Gabon hired Poyry Oyj, the Finnish engineering consultant, to conduct an audit of oil companies’ facilities to check their preparedness for spills, said Oil and Petroleum Minister Julien Nkoghe Bekale.
“Gabon has not yet had accidents on the scale of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico,” Bekale told reporters today in Libreville, the capital. “But we must prevent” them, he said.
BP Plc’s Macondo drilling rig exploded on April 20, setting off the biggest U.S. oil spill. Eleven workers died and about 5 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico over an 87-day period.
Poyry will examine how prepared companies are to provide “immediate and effective responses” to oil spills off the coast of Gabon, Neil Smith, director of development-engineering services at Poyry, said at the briefing. “It will also be an opportunity for the oil companies to know that their operations comply with various international standards,” he said.
Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa’s sixth-biggest oil producer, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Oil companies with operations in the West African country include Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA.