A group of senior military officers in Gabon seized power last week, shortly after the country’s election body announced President Ali Bongo had won a third term. Gabon’s military cancelled the results, closed the borders and moved to consolidate power over the next several days.

According to the Financial Times, the coup in Gabon marks the eight putsch in Central and West Africa since 2020.

The takeover in Gabon, however, is different from the industry’s perspective because it involves a significant oil producer and OPEC member.

Gabon is a significant crude oil producer and exporter.

Because of the uncertain situation after the coup, it is too early to predict whether Gabon’s oil production and exports will be disrupted, according to shipbroker Poten & Partners.

Gabon’s oil is sold to a wide variety of customers. The largest buyer of Gabon’s oil is China, but they also sell oil to Israel, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Italy and France. South Korea and India used to be clients, but they have not bought oil from Gabon in the last 12 months.

While the situation in Gabon remains extremely uncertain and it has been reported that all shipping activity from Gabonese ports has been halted at the moment, this is likely a temporary situation, the shipbroker Poten warns.

Gabon is highly dependent on revenues from the sale of oil (and other commodities) and unless the country becomes subject to sanctions (which is unlikely), exports will go back to normal in the near future.

“In the meantime, while the ports are closed, offshore terminals remain operational, potentially limiting the impact on oil flows.”

Ship security company Ambrey has confirmed last week that Libreville port operations have been stopped because of a military coup in the African country of Gabon.

According to Ambrey, the Libreville port authority advised a vessel due to berth to await further instructions in the anchorage, whilst another merchant vessel intending to depart the port was refused clearance to exit.

In accordance with various media leaks Gabon’s army said on Saturday that it would reopen the country’s land, sea and air borders as of this Saturday, closed in the wake of the military coup that ousted ex-president Ali Bongo.