Gabon is located on the west coast of Africa, and is bordered on the north by Cameroon, on the east and south by Congo, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the northwest by Equatorial Guinea.
Rising from the coastal lowlands (which range in width from 18 to 125 miles) is a band more than 60 miles wide forming a rocky escarpment that ranges in height from 600 to 2000 ft. Rivers descending from the interior have carved deep channel in the face of the escarpement. There are mountains in various parts of Gabon, the highest peak being Mt. Ibondiji (5,165ft). The northern coastline is deeply indented with bays, estuaries and deltas as far south as the mouth of the Ogooué River, forming excellent natural shelters. Further south, the coast becomes more precipitous, with coastal areas bordered by lagoons and mangrove swamps. Virtually the entire territory is contained in the basin of the Ogooué River, which is over 500 miles long and navigable for 150 miles. Its two major tributaries are the Ivindo and the N'Gounie, which are navigable for several hundred miles into the interior.
Shell Gabon is present in 3 main locations: Libreville, Port-Gentil and Gamba. All Shell Gabon activities are coordinated and directed from Gamba as the headquarters.
Libreville is the capital and the largest city of Gabon. The city is a port on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea, and a trade center for timber. Shell Gabon has a satellite office in that city. The office serves as the liaison between Shell Gabon and some stakeholders such as the government. We have some Government Relations, HR ans Finance staff working from Libreville.
Port-Gentil is the second-largest city of Gabon and a leading seaport. It is the centre of Gabon's petroleum and timber industries. Although it lies on an inshore, the nearby mainland is a remote forest area and the city is not connected by road to the rest of the nation. It lies close to Cape Lopez, the western most point in Gabon.
Gamba is a small town in Gabon lying on the southern bay of the Ndogo Lagoon. Historically, the area was populated by indigenous gatherer-hunter-fishermen scattered in small villages around the Ndogo Lagoon and the Yenzi Lake.
With the discovery by Shell in 1967 of a major oil field Gamba/Ivinga, the town boomed and immigration of workers from various other parts of the country resulted in the population today of about 8000 people. Though production from Gamba field is now only a fraction of what it once was, Gamba remains an important and strategic oil hub, being one of only two oil terminal in Gabon (the other one being in Cape Lopez). Shell Gabon built its headquarters in Gamba after the relocation from Port-Gentil in 1997 and runs most of its Gabon activities from there.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy people. They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated.
In the 15th century, the first Europeans arrived. The nation's present name originates from "Gabão", Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River by Libreville. French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza led his first mission to the Gabon-Congo area in 1875. He founded the town of Franceville, and was later appointed as Colonial Governor. Several Bantu groups lived in the area, that is now Gabon, when France officially occupied it in 1885.
In 1910, Gabon became one of the fous territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation that survived until 1959. These territories became independent in the 1960s.
Libreville was inhabited by the Mpongwé tribe long before the French acquired the land in 1839. In 1846, l'Elizia, a Brazilian ship doing slave trade, was captured by the French navy near Loango. The slaves were released and founded Libreville (French for "Freetown") in 1848. It was the chief port of French Equatorial Africa from 1934 to 1946 and was the central focus of the Battle of Gabon in 1940.
French is the official language of Gabon but few Gabonese speak English. The dozens of tribal languages are exclusively oral. Fang is the most popular indigenous language spoken by about one-third of the people, and most widely used language in the north. Punu, Bateke, Myene, and various other Bantu dialects are also widely spoken.
Gabon has a moist, hot weather typical of an equatorial climate. From June to September, there is virtually no rain but low humidity; there is occasional rain in December and January. During the remaining months, rainfall is heavy. The excessive rainfall is caused by the condensation of moist air as a result of the meeting of the cold South Polar Current and the warm Guinea Current directly off the coast. At Libreville, the capital, the average annual rainfall is more than 100 inches. Further north on the coast, it is 150 inches. Whilst the temperature varies only slightly throughout the year, with a daily average of 26.6°C (80°F), the weather is cooler in the dry season (mid-June to mid-September).
Gabon has approximately 12 hours of dailight with the sun rising just before 6:30 AM and setting around 6:30PM. The country is 1 hour ahead of GMT and there is no daylight saving time so the clocks do not change in Gabon.