The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has awarded three licences for natural gas blocks in Lake Kivu on its eastern border, reported Reuters, citing the country’s Hydrocarbons Ministry.

The Idjwi block has been awarded to Winds Exploration and Production while the Makelele block has been awarded to ReD, a local subsidiary of US-based Symbion Power.

Canada-based Alfajiri Energy has secured the Lwandjofu block.

DRC Hydrocarbons Minister Didier Budimbu was quoted by the news agency as saying that the production sharing contracts for the three blocks are planned to be signed with the firms within 15 days.

Budimbu said the Makelele block is anticipated to begin production in 2024.

Symbion Power CEO Paul Hinks told the news agency that production from the Makelele block is expected to start next year ‘if everything goes well’.

Budimbu added that the oil blocks’ tender was scheduled to end on 29 January. However, the government is considering extending the deadline to allow the allocation of additional oil and gas blocks.

In July 2022, Reuters reported that the DRC was planning to offer 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks in its upcoming licensing round.

The licensing round covers blocks including three in the coastal basin of the Kongo Central province, 11 near Lake Tanganyika, nine in the Cuvette Centrale, and four near Lake Albert.

To revitalise its hydrocarbons sector, Congo intends unlock its ‘enormous hydrocarbon potential’, located in three sedimentary basins including the Coastal basin, the Central Cuvette, and the West Branch of the East African Rift.