Shell Gabon – a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc – has been operating in Gabon since 1960. Since this time Shell's exploration has taken place across a large area of the costal south-west of Gabon, resulting in major discoveries at Gamba (the largest oil field in Gabon at the time) and Rabi in 1985 (the largest onshore oil field in sub-Saharan Africa).
The south-west costal area in which Shell operates also known as the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas is a landscape of high national and international importance for its biodiversity; hosting two of the most beautiful national parks, two Ramsar sites, one wildlife reserve and three hunting reserves, and where oil pipeline, oil machineries cohabite with many endangered species such as western gorillas, chimpanzees, sea turtles, and the forest elephants our African giant.
Following internal standards and national legislation requirements on sustainable development, Shell Gabon, an ISO 14001 standard certified company, has recently developed (first Oil & Gas company in Gabon) a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), which identifies critical habitats, priority biodiversity, and outlines Shell Gabon's approach to managing biodiversity impacts and risks. Ultimately the BAP has been integrated into Shell Gabon's Environmental Management System aiming at enforcing operating procedures on biodiversity aspects. Examples might include reducing the number of roads built and their width; speed controls; limiting the size of platform constructions and use of existing platforms wherever possible for drilling; prohibition of hunting, fishing and transporting bush meat and weapons in production areas; promoting anti-poaching activities together with the Government authorities, local NGOs' and one long lasting partner, the Smithsonian Institute. For almost two decades, Shell Gabon has made a significant contribution to the understanding of biodiversity, making the Gamba complex of protected areas a safe haven where wild life cohabits with oil operations. Oil & Gas exploration in sensitive and priority biodiversity areas is achievable