This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.


Oil 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.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Refined petroleum products, including gasoline, aviation fuel, kerosene; petroleum based lubricants; oil refining operations, biofuels production.


There are currently three major oil companies conducting extractive operations in the DRC; Anglo-French firm Perenco conducting offshore oil extraction in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Muanda in Kongo Central; French oil company Total, and DRC parastatal Cohydro, which is conducting exploratory and preliminary extractive operations in the Eastern DRC.  With estimates of total petroleum reserves as high three billion barrels, natural gas and methane reserves exceeding 10 billion cubic meters, and a comparatively low production rate ranging between 20,000 and 25,000 barrels per day, there is room for American firms with onshore and offshore engineering and operational experience in complex and fragile environments to establish a foothold in the DRC.

Web Resources

Ministry of Hydrocarbons
DRC Chamber of Commerce
Congo Business
Global Trade Atlas
National Agency for Investment Promotion (ANAPI)
Regulatory Authority for Public Procurement (ARMP)

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting