Congo Kinshasa has increased the number of blocks it is offering from 16 to 30 at an upcoming bid round.
The Ministry of Hydrocarbons said it would offer 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks. The decision to boost the number of licences on offer was taken in order to “maximise the opportunity” for the country, it said.
The tender is due to launch on July 28. Minister Didier Budimbu invited local and international oil companies to attend.
Que vous soyez opérateurs pétroliers ou gaziers ; Investisseurs potentiels ou membres du gouvernement, opérant au niveau national ou international, soyez les bienvenus !
— Ministère des Hydrocarbures RDC (@Min_HydroRDC) July 19, 2022
The offering includes three blocks – Yema II, Nganzi and Matamba-Makanzi – in the Coastal Basin, in the Kongo Central province.
Nine blocks are in the Central Basin, it said, 11 blocks in the Tanganyika Graben, four blocks in the Albertine Graben, and the three gas blocks in Lake Kivu.
Greenpeace Africa condemned the proposed sale. The auction “makes a mockery” of Congo Kinshasa’s role in tackling the climate crisis, project lead Irene Wabiwa said. “It exposes Congolese people to corruption, violence, and poverty that inevitably come with the curse of oil, as well as more heat waves and less rains for all Africans.”
The NGO went on to say blocks offered under the round included land within protected areas.
Greenpeace Africa has written to oil and gas companies in Africa, Europe and the US warning them off from participating in the offering.
Simon Lewis, a professor of global change science at University College London and the University of Leeds, also wrote on July 15 in the New York Times of the problems around exploration.
“Once accessible and degraded, the rainforests would most likely succumb to rampant deforestation, increasing carbon emissions. In the peatlands, this disturbance would begin the release of carbon from the peat: up to 5.8 billion tons from the oil concession areas,” Lewis said. The UCL professor was writing before the announcement of the expanded bid round.
Soco International licensed areas around Virunga but ran into sustained opposition, driven by concerns around the impact on gorilla habitat. The company pulled out of Congo Kinshasa and has rebranded as Pharos Energy.