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Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the tip of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Its northern neighbour is Spain whilst Morocco lies to the south across the sea.

Gibraltar was inhabited by Phoenicians from 950 BC followed by Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and finally Visigoths who established temporary settlements.  In 711 AD Islamic people from North Africa took control and built a permanent settlement. It continued to change hands through to 1501 when it passed to the Spanish Crown.

In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, an Anglo-Dutch fleet captured it. The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht ceded control to Britain in perpetuity as part of a deal to secure Britain's withdrawal from the war.

It became a base for the British Navy due to its strategic location controlling the 13 km entrance to the Mediterranean, especially after the Suez Canal opened and during World War 2.

Spain had tried to regain it twice in the 18th Century and in the 1950s the country renewed its claim despite the inhabitants being strongly in favour of remaining with the UK.

Gibraltar's economy is based on tourism, online gambling, financial services and shipping. The UK’s vote to leave the EU caused significant uncertainty as to Gibraltar’s long term future.

Gibraltar comprises the 426 metre high Rock of Gibraltar made of Jurassic limestone and a narrow coastal lowland surrounding it.

It has no sedimentary basins and has no identified indigenous oil or gas resources either onshore, or offshore in the Alboran Sea on the Mediterranean side and in the Bay of Gibraltar on the Atlantic side. Globalshift believes it is unlikely to achieve any commercial production in the future.


Map and National Flag


Mother and baby

Brief history of the territory (UK)

Southern Europe


E and P

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Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)



0.03 mm






Gibraltar is a British overseas territory but has complete internal democratic self-government through an elected parliament elected for a term of up to 4 years.

It is unicameral consisting of 17 elected members and an appointed Speaker. The head of state is the UK monarch by the Governor responsible for defence and foreign relations.  It is is part of the EU through UK membership.

There is no local government department responsible for oil and gas resources.

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