OPINION: Last week’s 300,000-barrel oil spill at Perenco’s Cap Lopez terminal in Gabon would have been an environmental disaster had containment bunds around storage tanks failed or not been built.

The terminal lies at the northern tip of a sandy peninsular, some 20 kilometres from Gabon’s oil hub at Port Gentil.

It also lies immediately adjacent to ecologically diverse coastal zones to the south and east, including the fragile delta of the Ogooue river which hosts more than 300 species of birds, including rare breeds.