The State Actor

This article was originally published in the Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea book.

Equatorial Guinea’s national oil company GEPetrol has growing influence in areas from policy and personnel training to oilfield operations.

GEPetrol, Equatorial Guinea’s state-owned oil company, is increasing its active participation in the oil and gas sector, playing key roles in upcoming upstream projects.

Established in 2002 by presidential decree, GEPetrol is responsible for managing the state’s participation in the upstream sector, including acting as the agent for the sale of the state’s share of hydrocarbons, promoting open acreage within Equatorial Guinea and acting as a shareholder in upstream blocks. GEPetrol is also responsible for training nationals in the oil and gas sector, thereby advancing local content initiatives.

GEPetrol partners with international oil companies operating in Equatorial Guinea to further upstream projects. The state-owned company owns a 20 percent stake in ExxonMobil’s Block EG-06; a 23.75 percent in Exxon’s Block B; a 20 percent stake in Ophir Energy’s Block R; a 5 percent carried interest in Kosmos Energy’s Ceiba field and Okume complex and interests in many other fields. It also owns a 37 percent interest in Luba Freeport, the country’s leading oil and gas service center for the Gulf of Guinea, and a 40 percent stake in GEPsing, operator of the FPSOs Serpentina and Aseng offshore Equatorial Guinea.

Spreading influence

For the landmark Fortuna FLNG project, the government confirmed GEPetrol’s participation last year, with the company holding a 20 percent stake in the upstream phase of Fortuna, and also a potential 30 percent ownership of the midstream FLNG vessel at a later date.

Though GEPetrol has yet to produce oil and gas from its own fields, the company has been acquiring knowledge from its cooperation with international companies in Equatorial Guinea. GEPetrol was key to the development of the Hydrocarbons Law of 2006, the National Content Legislation of 2014 and the establishment of the National Technical Institute for Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea (ITNHGE).

GEPetrol has been active on the inter- national stage, working to secure glob- al cooperation with other oil and gas producing nations. In March, Director General of GEPetrol Antonio Oburu Ondo met with Emirati Minister of Energy and Industry H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui to discuss collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and Equatorial Guinea, and GEPetrol has agreed to cooperate with South Sudan’s national oil company Nilepet on issues of local content, oil and gas development and gas monetization.

GEPetrol
 was key to the development of
the Hydrocarbons Law of 2006, the National Content Legislation of 2014 and the establishment of the National Technical Institute
for Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.

Subsidiaries

The national oil company has also expanded significantly in recent years, establishing subsidiaries in a variety of sectors, including GEPetrol Star Travel, GEProc, GEPCriteria, GEPetrol Marine Solutions, GEPamal, GEPSecurity and GEPetrol Detalhe Engineering.

Now, GEPetrol is actively involved in the country’s efforts to expand in the downstream sector by potentially participating in the building of the Bioko Oil Terminal, a hydrocarbons storage facility for the entire Gulf of Guinea, as well as a small-scale refinery and other similar projects.