A recent onshore discovery in the Republic of Congo could see the country produce up to 359 million barrels of oil, or 983,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from the nation’s central province.
This is according to the African Energy Chamber, an organisation that seeks to uphold a results-focused business environment for companies operating in Africa’s dynamic energy industry.
The Chamber said that the discovery could quadruple Congo’s production, which currently stands at over 330,000 bopd according to OPEC’s latest figures. Production has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a target set by the government of reaching 400,000 bopd by 2020.
The discovery was made in the Delta de la Cuvette deposit in the Republic of Congo and has been touted as a game changer for Congo and Africa. It was announced just days ago by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block.
“This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo
The Delta de la Cuvette deposit covers 9,392 m2 and comprises four wells, the first has been drilled in March of this year. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya.
“This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” commented Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group.
“Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies. It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry. I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa,” he said.
The discovery is also a game-changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields. The Republic of Congo has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its Central and Northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200 kilometer pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso. The exploitation of such large oil deposits in the centre of the country could open up a whole new energy frontier for Congo and the rest of the region.
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed.