Etablissements Maurel & Prom (MAU), a French oil and gas explorer, may be the next target of a government crackdown in Gabon over production contracts, according to Eurasia Group Ltd.
The government’s plan to seize oil blocks held by China Petrochemical Corp.’s Addax Petroleum “underscores an unsettled oil policy climate exacerbated by elite power struggles,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa director with the New York-based research group, said in a note to clients. Gabon has already seized Addax’s Obangue field.
Maurel and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) Ltd. are “thought to be in the crosshairs of a selective crackdown on what the government sees as the starkest cases of tax avoidance and breach of contract,” De Pontet wrote.
Maurel’s oil production in Gabon may rise above 27,500 barrels a day by the end of the year after the connection of new wells, the company said in a March 28 statement.
“Given the prospectivity of the ultra-deep acreage, the low stability risk profile, and the attractiveness of fiscal terms, we expect continued investor appetite, albeit wary, in Gabon’s offshore play,” De Pontet said.
A spokesman for Maurel couldn’t immediately comment.
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