Congo, Democratic Republic - Oil and GasCongo (DR) - Oil and Gas
OverviewOil and gas discoveries in the east of the country give the DRC the second largest crude oil reserves in Central and Southern Africa after Angola. These reserves are primarily located in the four major lakes bordering Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The DRC contains three sedimentary basins; the Coastal Basin located in Kongo Central, extending offshore past the Congo River estuary, the Central Basin, and the Grabens Albertine and Tanganyika, extending from the Ugandan-DRC border to the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika on the Zambian-DRC border. The DRC has proven reserves of 180 million barrels, though estimates of total petroleum reserves exceed 5 billion barrels. Currently, Congolese oil production is limited to the Coast Basin, yielding 25,000 barrels per day of offshore production, all of which are exported.
Along with large recently identified oil fields, the DRC may hold as many as 30 billion cubic meters of methane and natural gas in the three major petroleum deposits. Lake Kivu, bordering Rwanda and Burundi, has nearly 60 billion cubic meters of dissolved methane in its waters. While the methane gas poses a threat to populations along its shores, this gas can be trapped and converted to electricity. Methane is already being extracted on the Rwandan side of the Lake, through a Rwandan built biogas power plant that is generating 30-40 megawatts of electricity. Beyond the estimated 60 billion cubic meters of methane in Lake Kivu, the lake generates as much as 250,000 cubic meters of methane annually.
The DRC’s only oil refinery, owned by parastatal Société Congo-Italienne de Raffinage (SOCIR) located in Muanda in Kongo Central province, has not produced refined petroleum products since 1998, when Italian oil firm Eni’s withdrew from its partnership with SOCIR. In 2014, SOCIR committed to restarting the refinery to produce bitumen for domestic road construction projects. Today, the DRC imports all of its refined petroleum fuels and lubricants.