Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Seeks to Unlock Estimated 5 Billion Barrels of Oil

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is committed to developing its prospective hydrocarbon resources, to be promoted at the Invest in African Energy forum in Paris

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With 180 million barrels of proven oil reserves – and up to 5 billion of estimated oil reserves – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is embarking on an extensive exploration campaign to harness its resources for enhanced energy security and GDP growth. As the country intensifies upstream activities, the Invest in African Energy (IAE) 2024 forum, slated for 13 – 14 May in Paris, will spotlight lucrative investment opportunities spanning the DRC’s oil and gas value chain.

Featuring Africa’s key policymakers and industry leaders – including the confirmed participation of Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, Congolese Minister of Hydrocarbons – the IAE forum will connect energy and infrastructure projects with global investors, aimed at advancing oil and gas exploration, transport, processing and distribution in the DRC and East African region. The country currently produces 25,000 barrels of oil per day from its Coast Basin, in partnership with independent hydrocarbon producer Perenco. Yet with additional hydrocarbon-rich basins remaining untapped – such as the highly prospective Albertine Graben, shared with Uganda – the DRC represents a frontier market with significant upside for oil and gas explorers.

Organized by Energy Capital & Power, IAE 2024  is an exclusive forum designed to facilitate investment between African energy markets and global investors. Taking place May 14-15, 2024 in Paris, the event offers delegates two days of intensive engagement with industry experts, project developers, investors and policymakers. For more information, please visit www.Invest-Africa-Energy.com. To sponsor or participate as a delegate, please contact sales@energycapitalpower.com.

With Perenco and French major TotalEnergies already active in the country, the DRC is looking to strengthen collaboration with international partners to drive upstream investment. To realize this objective, the DRC launched an upstream market expansion initiative, initiating a 30-block licensing round in early-2022 aimed at unlocking oil reserves valued at up to $650 billion.

In January 2023, the DRC awarded exploration and production licenses for three Lake Kivu gas blocks to North American energy companies Symbion Power, Winds Energy & Production and Alfajiri Energy. The awards pave the way for the development of a $300-million, 60 MW gas-to-power project by Symbion Power, which could unlock further expansion of the country’s gas value chain. Perenco’s launch of a new offshore gas production and training platform last May also serves to propel domestic gas production, while training the local workforce.

The DRC is prioritizing collaboration with regional governments and stakeholders to attract investment and foster local content development. Last July, the country signed an agreement with Angola for the joint development of Block 14, situated on the maritime border of the two countries. The agreement not only encourages investments from block operator Chevron, but also increases Angola’s supply of refined petroleum products to the DRC, thereby enhancing energy resilience in the country. Moreover, the partnership provides for knowledge-sharing initiatives aimed at establishing best practices and expanding both countries’ respective oil and gas industries.

Last May, the DRC signed an agreement with Uganda that would see oil produced from the DRC’s Albertine Graben transported via the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline and exported to global markets. The DRC also forged an agreement with Equatorial Guinea in 2022 for the construction of a refinery and storage facilities. Both initiatives are set to usher in a new era of mid- and downstream development, facilitating the export of the DRC’s crude oil to new markets.

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