DRC AUCTIONS OIL EXPLOITATION PERMITS IN PEAT - RICH CONGO BASIN.
Democratic Republic of the Congo has officially launched auctioning of 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks. The oil blocks have oil reserves estimated to be worth at least $650 billion. DRC says its priority is to fight poverty and not to save the planet.
An open invitation to tender for 27 oil and 3 gas blocks was launched on Thursday. Environmental groups are warning of a 'climate catastrophe' if these projects come to fruition.
By Mathilde Boussion (Johannesburg (South Africa) correspondent) and Coralie Pierret (Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo) correspondent)
Published on July 30, 2022 at 03h40, updated at 11h20 on July 30, 2022
"Investing in the DRC will put the country in the ranks of major oil and gas producers," the claim promises. On Thursday, July 28, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) officially launched its new development project, opening the country's doors to hydrocarbon producers, and putting 27 oil and 3 gas licenses up for auction. This is a major turning point for the country, where the economic activity has previously focused on exploiting mineral resources. And a nightmare for environmental groups, which are denouncing the auction of permits in some of the most vulnerable environmental zones on the planet.
The DRC has been seeking to diversify its economy, particularly by focusing on the oil sector since 2015. Surrounded by major oil-producing countries such as Angola and the Republic of Congo, the DRC produces barely 23,000 barrels/day of oil, a drop in the bucket compared to its estimated potential. "It was time to get our act together," said President Félix Tshisekedi, at the opening of the auction. Spurred on by the rise in oil prices based on the high competition for energy supplies as a consequence to the war in Ukraine, the government initially planned to auction 16 blocks in May, before almost doubling the number in mid-July.