Port-Gentil (1993 est. pop. 80,000) is the second-largest city of Gabon and a leading seaport. It is the center of Gabon's petroleum and timber industries. Although it lies inshore, the nearby mainland is a remote forest area and it is not connected by road to the rest of the nation. The city lies close to Cape Lopez, the westernmost point in Gabon.
The settlement was established on Mandji Island in the delta of the Ogowe River by the French, who signed a treaty with the Orungu people in 1873. It was used as a base for the expeditions of de Brazza into the interior, then in 1894 a customs post was set up, becoming the nucleus of a trading center that included Hatton & Cookson, John Holt, Woermann, Société du Haut-Ogooué, and Compagnie d'Exploitations Forestières Africaines. The main products were initially rubber and ivory, gradually supplemented by woods, particularly okoumé for plywood.
The town is now known for its hotels and its nightlife, while attractions include the St Louis Church (built in 1927), a zoo, a casino, beaches and a golf course, as well as the wildlife in local swamps.
Port Gentil is technically on an island, and no bridge connects it to the mainland. The limited number of paved roads within the city are also poorly maintained. It has an airport serving as the main channel of transportation with the world. Regular flights are operated from the airport to Libreville, capital of Gabon. Oil company charters to other destinations are a regular sight from the airport.
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Engineering and project management specialist Technip has been awarded a strategic engineering contract by Gabon Fertilizers for a world class grassroots ammonia-urea fertiliser project to be developed at Port Gentil, Gabon.(Projects & Technology)(Brief article)
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