Gabon ‘seeks $805m from Total’

Christophe de Margerie of Total23 February 2014, News Wires – Gabon is looking to hit French supermajor Total with an $805 million tax bill as it seeks to recoup cash from activities in the last decade, according to a report.

Total is, however, hopeful it can resolve the dispute with the government of the West African oil producer, according to Reuters.

Gabon claims Total owes the country’s coffers $805 million in taxes run up between 2008 and 2010, the news wire said.

It quoted Gabon’s director general of taxes, Joel Ogouma, as saying in a statement: “The administration deplores (Total’s) attitude, characterised by a tendency to pay attention only to one’s point of view.

“The authorities regret the bad faith of Total Gabon which, despite its size, remains a taxpayer like any other, subject to the laws and regulations of the Gabonese Republic.”

Total owns 58.28% in Total Gabon with the government holding a quarter.

Last month, Chinese player Addax Petroleum “resolved amicably” its difference with Gabonese authorities and tied up a trio of licences in the country.

The offshoot of China’s Sinopec had been at loggerheads with the local government, which last year revoked the operator’s Obangue licence, alleging breach of contract.

The explorer last month signed a production sharing contract for three oilfields: Obangue, Tsiengui and Autour.

Also in January, Upstream reported that Gabon is set to pass a new petroleum code in 2015.

Gabon aims to halt a slow decline in production by boosting exploration and production from pre-salt reservoirs, and to that end 13 blocks were awarded to 11 companies in a deep-water licensing round concluded in late 2013.

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