DR Congo Set to Auction 27 Oil, 3 Gas Blocks

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……. Conservationists raise concerns

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has concluded plans to auction off 27 oil blocks and 3 gas blocks.

The auctioning of the blocs on July 18, 2022, is coming despite warnings from nature conservationists, reports said. 

The organisations claim that as many as nine of the oil blocks up for auction are straddled in protected areas. The deposits are said to be spread over several parts of the country.

There are three in the coastal basin in the south of the country, nine in the Central Cuvette in the -east of the DRC, eleven in the Tanganyika Graben in the east of the country and four in the Albertine Graben. The three gas blocks are located in Lake Kivu in the west of the country, the report said.

Announcing the tender for the of the blocs, the Congolese minister of hydrocarbons, Didier Budimbu recalled the economic interest of the project for the country.

“The of all these oil blocks will bring in nearly 2,000 billion US dollars. And in a context of international economic crisis marked by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the DRC can really develop thanks to this oil project,” explained the minister.

For the environmental organisation Greenpeace, this government project would have catastrophic consequences for the communities living near these oil blocks, biodiversity and the global climate.

“It is not just a question of looking at financial or economic interests, but the lives of millions of Congolese communities and millions of people around the world are at stake, and there is no figure in terms of dollars that could compensate for this,” says Irene Wabiwa Betoko, Greenpeace’s forestry campaigner for the Congo basin.

The organisation does not want to see the allocation of oil blocks in the Central Cuvette, a complex rich in peat bogs and biodiversity that absorbs about 30 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of three years of global emissions.

However, responding to the concerns raised by the organisations, Congolese environment minister, Ève Bazaïba told Congolese public television that appropriate studies were being carried out to allow the allocation of exploration rights in the Central Cuvette.

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