This law establishes that all hydrocarbon resources, essential infrastructure and information acquired or produced in oil operations are the exclusive property of the state (Art.10). Thus, oil and gas developments can only be undertaken after due authorization.
The regulation refers to an institutional structure composed by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, a regulatory authority, a national operator and advisory bodies. It also indicates that the state may choose to acquire, at market conditions, a participation in oil and gas developments of up to 10%. Meanwhile, the national operator may opt to acquire, at market conditions, up to 15% direct participation shares in production sharing contracts.
The law also states that hydrocarbon activities must be carried out in accordance with the principles and rules relating to sustainable development, quality, health, hygiene, safety and the environment. Thus, it establishes obligations relating to the preservation of the environment, including provisions related to waste management, pollution control, social and environmental impact studies, environmental management plans, and decommissioning (Art.170). It further outlines local content provisions, information requirements, pertaining taxes and enforcement powers.
With regards to gas management, it defines the objective of increasing sustainable gas production and use. Moreover, according to Art.125, flaring and venting of gas are prohibited in the Gabonese Republic. However, at the request of the contractor and on the advice of the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, flaring and venting may be authorised within a period determined by the Ministry of Environment. Upon notice, the competent authority may determine, for each field, applicable thresholds subject to periodical revision.
Art. 126 states that operators shall submit to the joint approval of the ministries in charge of hydrocarbons and the environment a gas flaring reduction plan for all their production fields. They are likewise required to equip production facilities with flare measuring devices and report the volumes of gas flared to the competent authority.
Lastly, the law sets a series of applicable sanctions. These include penalties for contractors who fail to submit required studies and reports in the exercise of upstream activities, for violations of the ban on gas flaring, and for noncompliance with regards to flaring reduction plans or flaring thresholds.