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As the nation escalates its efforts in upstream operations, the Invest in African Energy (IAE) 2024 forum, set for May 13–14 in Paris, will highlight profitable investment prospects across 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.

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 realise this objective, the DRC launched an upstream market expansion initiative, initiating a 30-block licencing round in early 2022 aimed at unlocking oil reserves valued at up to $650 billion.

In January 2023, the DRC awarded exploration and production licences 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 served to propel domestic gas production while training the local workforce.

The DRC is prioritising 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.

In 2022, the DRC and Equatorial Guinea established a pact to build a refinery and storage facilities, marking the onset of a transformative era in mid- and downstream development. These initiatives aim to streamline the export of the DRC’s crude oil to fresh markets.