Gabon Reverses Decision to Declare Force Majeure on Oil Exports

Gabon reversed its decision to declare force majeure as oil stocks are still available to continue exports, Petroleum and Energy Minister Etienne Ngoubou said.

The Central African nation declared force majeure, a legal clause that allows authorities to miss contracted deliveries due to circumstances beyond their control, after the National Organization of Oil Employees, representing about 5,000 industry workers, started a strike on March 10. It’s protesting the dismissal of 17 Schlumberger Ltd. staff and the employment of expatriates in positions that locals are qualified for.

“The oil ministry is taking precautionary measures to allow the customer to take delivery of the oil despite the strike,” Ngoubou said in a statement handed to reporters yesterday in the capital, Libreville.

The strike hasn’t affected oil exports and 80 percent of the Gabonese market is “covered,” Christophe Akagha Mba, director general of the government-owned company for storage of petroleum products, said in a telephone interview from Libreville today.

“The domestic gas supplies have resumed normal production at between 50 and 70 tonnes of gas per day,” he said.

Gabon, which produces about 243,000 barrels per day of oil, said in November 2011 it will regulate employment of foreign workers in energy industry.