March 22, 2018 / 5:54 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Gabon to revise hydrocarbons law to attract investment -oil ministry

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LIBREVILLE, March 22 (Reuters) - Gabon plans to revise its hydrocarbons law to attract new investment, the oil ministry said on Thursday.

Under the current legal framework, the Gabonese state holds a minimum 20 percent stake in oil projects. The state oil company has the right to a stake of up to 15 percent.

That law was implemented in 2014, the year that the market was shocked by a 50 percent drop in prices from over $100 a barrel to around $50 due to global oversupply.

“The same fiscal framework cannot be applied both when the barrel is at $150 and when it’s at $50 or $60, which limits the room to maneuver of investors interested in exploration,” the oil ministry said in a statement.

Like other oil-dominated economies of the Economic Community of Central African States’ single-currency zone, Gabon has struggled due to the decline in crude prices, forcing it to seek support from the International Monetary Fund last year.

A panel of legal, economic and tax experts will meet from March 26 to 28 to look at changes to the law, the ministry said.

Companies operating in Gabon include Royal Dutch Shell , Total and Tullow Oil. (Reporting by Gerauds Wilfried Obangome Writing by Joe Bavier Editing by Edward McAllister and Robin Pomeroy)

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