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Backed by over 180 million barrels of proven oil reserves and up to 5 billion barrels of estimated reserves, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is focused on leveraging both its oil and gas reserves for accelerated socioeconomic growth. In achieving these objectives, the country is looking to partner with its regional counterparts, with Equatorial Guinea stepping up to help the DRC drive investment and development across its diverse and high potential sector.

Representing the second largest country in Africa geographically and the fourth largest by population, oil and gas has the potential to transform the country through infrastructure development, multi-sector revitalization and enhanced revenue streams. The DRC represents one of Africa’s most lucrative oil and gas destinations owing to significant proven and estimated oil and gas reserves. Strategically located in close proximity to some of Africa’s major producers including Angola, the Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, the country has the potential to transform its own energy sector while improving energy access and security in the wider region. However, despite this potential, investment and development has been slow, leading to Hydrocarbons Minister, H.E. Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, seeking collaborative energy partnerships with gas major Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea represents a particularly valuable partner for the DRC as the country has been highly successful in exploiting both its domestic and regional gas reserves. Sector directed capital and an enabling environment have placed Equatorial Guinea accelerated the country’s progress towards being a Gas Mega Hub, positioning the country as a top producer, processor and distributor. Projects such as Gas Mega Hub – incorporating the $330 million Alen Gas Monetization project – the 10,000 barrel per day Punta Europa refinery; and offshore success seen in the Alba, Zafiro and Ceiba fields serve as critical examples that the DRC can learn from. Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea has made a strong case for regional partnerships, collaborating with countries including Nigeria, Cameroon and the Congo to drive regional energy growth. Now, with H.E. Minister Ntubuanga traveling to Equatorial Guinea to discuss future partnerships and collaboration, the DRC is poised to see an influx in investment and oil and gas development on the back of cooperation and collaboration.

During the visit to Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Minister Ntubuanga made a strong case for a partnership, emphasizing the role Equatorial Guinea will play in helping drive development. Specifically, representing a key driver regarding both regional and international investment, both countries will work on best practices and regulatory frameworks with Equatorial Guinea additionally providing further support on the DRC’s upcoming licensing round. Expected to be opened in June 2022, the licensing round represents a turning point for the DRC’s energy sector and is set to usher in a wave of investment and international company participation in 2022 and beyond.

Both the DRC and Equatorial Guinea are expected to play a significant role during the continent’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW), coming up on October 18-21, 2022. During the event, international investors will be introduced to regional and African stakeholders, both H.E. Minister Ntubuanga and H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, will lead discussions on enabling environments, upstream investment and regional partnerships. Investor dedicated summits, country spotlight sessions and project profiles led by ministers and other regional energy executives will be instrumental in improving African investment and driving development.“With the DRC partnering with an energy powerhouse such as Equatorial Guinea, the country is readying itself for accelerated energy expansion in 2022 and beyond. With significant potential across multiple sectors, the DRC cannot afford to leave its oil and gas in the ground and should be working on leveraging resources for economic growth. This collaboration paves the way for enhanced development in the DRC as well as new regional partnerships and cooperation. At AEW 2022, both H.E. Minister Ntubuanga and H.E. Minister Lima will play an instrumental role in shaping dialogue, driving forum discussions and signing deals that will shape the future of the African energy industry,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

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