The Republic of Congo has initiated a significant step in its oil and gas sector by signing an amended production sharing contract (PSC) with China’s Wing Wah Oil for the Banga Kayo block.

This move, endorsed by the country’s Minister of Hydrocarbons, Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, signals the start of a pivotal gas development project to enhance the country’s hydrocarbon production capabilities.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has expressed its support for the Congo’s decision to expedite the development of this key asset in collaboration with its international partner.

The project’s progression is essential for the Congo to realise its ambition of doubling oil production to 500,000bpd.

Under the revised PSC outlines, the partners will develop the project in three phases. The first will involve production start in August 2024.

The subsequent phases will focus on resource commercialisation from February 2025 and marketing and distribution from December 2025.

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This development is also expected to bolster the country’s export revenues and stimulate economic advancement.

AEC executive chairman NJ Ayuk said: “Spearheaded by its Ministry of Hydrocarbons, the Republic of the Congo is making great strides to develop its oil and gas resources, with the country’s fast-tracked approach serving as a model for other resource-rich nations in Africa.

“With bold ambitions to double production capacity, the country is poised to unlock new opportunities for sustainable economic growth through oil and gas investment.”

Energy giant Eni is leading the charge with the country’s first natural gas liquefaction project, which involves the deployment of two floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessels at the Marine XII concession.

The Congo LNG project is expected to have an overall LNG production capacity of three million tonnes per year from 2025.

Exploration efforts are being driven by companies like Perenco, which discovered oil at the PNGF Sud licence in 2022, and TotalEnergies, which is preparing to drill the Niamou-1 well in the Marine XX block.