Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler’s oil company, Oil of DRCongo, on Thursday announced the discovery of some 3 billion barrels of oil in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reported.
The crude oil was discovered near Lake Albert on Congo’s eastern border with Uganda.
Oil of DRCongo statement reported that an analysis of seismic survey data “indicates around 3 billion barrels of oil in place.” It is not clear how much of that can be accessed.
“These are very positive results from our extensive seismic campaign, ” Oil of DRCongo’s CEO Giuseppe Ciccarelli said. “We continue to believe the project has the potential to provide significant revenues, ” which will result in benefits to the people of Congo.
Oil of DRCongo said it is preparing for the drilling of two exploration wells on the site. This will require relocating some local communities.
Looks like the people of Congo are already getting some of those benefits…
Congo produces 25, 000 barrels of oil per day from onshore and offshore fields in western coastal areas, according to Reuters. The country is looking for ways to seriously increase production in order to relieve poverty.
Oil of DRCongo said production of 50, 000 barrels per day at Lake Albert would enhance Congo’s economy by 25 percent.
Industry sources Reuters is citing are not nearly as optimistic, especially considering how hard it will be to export the oil from eastern Congo, hundreds of miles from ports on the Indian or Atlantic oceans.
The same sources also doubted how much oil there really is in the new fields.
“Seismic estimates still need to be confirmed by a serious drilling campaign and I would not be surprised if the amount is reduced by a significant percentage, ” one source told Reuters.
Ben Payton, of Risk consultancy Maplecroft, noted that the best way to move the new oil would be a pipeline, but suggested political instability in the region would make it impossible to carry out.