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Oil spill in Etimboué Region, Gabon

In 2020, the Perenco company, accused of previous environmental damaging activities in other areas of the world, caused oil spills in several sites in the Etimboué region in Gabon. Local NGOs and communities sued the company, helped by international NGOs.


In October 2020, Georges Mpaga, president of the NGO Network of Free Organizations for Good Governance (ROLBG), and a native of the Etimboué region, conducted a field mission in his region, and denounced large-scale oil pollution caused by operations by French-British oil company, Perenco. He argued the pollution had had a damaging impact on the environment and on the daily lives of the inhabitants of Etimboué, who lived mainly from fishing and agriculture, and that more than 300 fishermen were now unemployed, and fish stocks were becoming scarcer [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil spill in Etimboué Region, Gabon
State or province:Etimboué province
Location of conflict:Several locations
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to Perenco's own website "Production activity in Gabon began in 1992 with the acquisition of mature fields off Port-Gentil, with 8,000 barrels of oil produced daily." In 2021 the production reached 100,000 barrels [13].

Project area:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5,723
Start of the conflict:12/2020
Company names or state enterprises:Perenco Gabon from France - Project developer
Perenco (PERENCO) from France
Relevant government actors:- Provincial Secretary General of the Governorate
- Provincial Director of the Environment
- Provincial Director of Hydrocarbons
- Provincial Director of Housing
- Mayor of Omboué
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Network of Free Organizations for Good Governance (ROLBG)
- Sherpa
- Friends of the Earth France
- Local Etimboué communities
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (undecided)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There is ongoing litigation, so it is not possible to establish whether this will result in an environmental success yet. However, the Gabonese NGO that started the process managed to cause international resonance.
Sources & Materials

[1] RFI, “Pollution pétrolière au Gabon: des actions en justice contre la société française Perenco”,, 23 January 2021
[click to view]

[2] Georges Mpaga's Facebook Page, 3 October 2020
[click to view]

[3] Sabrina, “Pollution: lancement d’un audit opérationnel des installations de Perenco”,, 22 January 2021
[click to view]

[4] “Perenco Muanda, Dem. Rep. Congo”, Environmental Justice Atlas, last updated 12 May 2015
[click to view]

[5] Sydney Ivembi, “Pollution des sites Avocette, Coucal, Missolo et Batanga par Perenco : les analyses physico-chimiques seront réalisées en saison sèche”,, 15 April 2021
[click to view]

[6] Chief Bisong Etahoben, “PERENCO Agrees To Repair Environmental Damage In Gabon”,, 28 January 2021
[click to view]

[7] Georges Mpaga, Dénonciation des activités de corruption des communautés d'Etimboué par PERENCO. Communiqué, H2O Gabon webpage, 18 March 2021
[click to view]

[8] “Pollution : Pérenco devant la justice pour pollution aggravée”, DirectInfos Gabon webpage, 19 July 2021
[click to view]

[9] Elzo Mvoula, “Gabon: La justice authorize le Rolbg à poursuivre ses enquêtes sur la ‘pollution à grande echelle’ de Perenco à Etimboué,, 28 April 2022
[click to view]

[10] ASF, Les Amis de la Terre France, and Sherpa, “Press release – NGOs call out to Perenco: end the opacity to tackle the multinational’s impunity”,, 29 July 2021
[click to view]

[11] “Climat : le pétrolier Perenco assigné en justice”, Reporterre, 9 November 2022
[click to view]

[12] “Perenco sur le banc des accuses”, Les Amis de la Terre France webpage, November 2022
[click to view]

[13] Perenco's Website. Gabon. Visited on 27th of January 2023.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Roberto Cantoni
Last update23/01/2023
Conflict ID:6262
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