Congo, the Democratic Republic of the - Country Commercial Guide
Democratic Republic of the Congo - Oil nd Gas
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The 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 has proven reserves of 180 million barrels, though estimates of total petroleum reserves exceed five billion barrels.  Currently, Congolese oil production is limited to the Coastal Basin, yielding 25,000 barrels per day of offshore production, all of which is exported.

Along with recently identified potential oil fields, the DRC may hold as many as 30 billion cubic meters of methane and natural gas in 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 Rwanda-built power plant that generates 30-40 megawatts of electricity.  Beyond the estimated 60 billion cubic meters of methane found in Lake Kivu, the lake has the capacity to produce between 120 and 250 million cubic meters of new methane annually.  The DRC imports all 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 extracts offshore oil from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Muanda in Kongo Central.  French Oil Company Total and DRC parastatal Sonahydroc conduct exploratory and preliminary extractive operations in the Eastern DRC. 

With estimates of total petroleum reserves as high as 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 U.S. firms with onshore and offshore engineering and operational experience in complex and fragile environments to establish a foothold in the DRC.  The Lake Kivu methane gas market is still open to potential investors.  The associated gas of the exploitation concessions of the DRC’s coastal basin constitutes an energy source to be valorized and represents a market open to investments.  The non-associated gas reserves are estimated at 30,000,000 m3, of which 20,000,000 m3 are offshore and 10,000,000 m3 are onshore.

There are other projects to be exploited in this sector, including prospecting and exploration of sedimentary basins; the construction of an oil pipeline crossing the basins; the construction of storage infrastructures; the construction of refineries; the production of road bitumen in Central Kongo; storage and transport by pipeline; and the certification of oil and gas reserves.