Chaos in Gabon

September 01, 2023

Another military coup in Africa disrupts crude oil supply

On Wednesday, August 30, military officers in Gabon said they removed President Ali Bongo Ondimba from power, just after the country’s election body declared him the winner of a third term.  Gabon’s military cancelled the results, closed the borders and moved to consolidate power over the next several days.  President Bongo, who was president since 2009, when he took over from his father Omar (who ruled the country since 1967), was put under house arrest.  The military announced that the coup leader, General Brice Oligui Nguema – a cousin of Mr. Bongo – would be installed as “transitional president” next Monday.  Military takeovers happen quite often in Africa.  Only last month the leader of Niger was overthrown.  According to the Financial Times, the coup in Gabon marks the eight putsch in Central and West Africa since 2020.  However, the takeover in Gabon is different from our industry’s perspective because it involves a significant oil producer and OPEC member.  In this opinion, we will try to determine what impact the coup may have on crude oil flows and tanker employment in the region.

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