The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is planning to put on offer 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks in its upcoming licensing round, reported Reuters, citing the DRC Hydrocarbons Ministry.
Scheduled for next week, the licensing round will cover 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. The three gas blocks are located on Lake Kivu.
Congo intends to revitalise its hydrocarbons sector by unlocking 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 (Grabens Albertine, Lake Kivu, and Tanganyika).
To date, the African country has exploited 4.5% of its hydrocarbon resource potential, according to the ministry.
Due to underinvestment, the country’s output has remained at approximately 25,000 barrels per day for a year, reported Reuters.
The new licensing round, however, trigged concerns from environmental groups and activists as many of the oil and gas concessions overlay national parks.
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Congo defended its right to undertake drilling work for crude oil in the national parks.
In a press statement, Democratic Republic of Congo Hydrocarbons Minister Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga said: “It will be an ecological operation, without any negative impact on the environment, in accordance with legal provisions, as well as respect for the commitment made by the DRC [the country’s solution in the fight against global warming] during the COP 26 conference held in Glasgow.”
In the past, Congo planned to auction 16 oil blocks but now increased it to 30 blocks to capitalise on opportunities.