KINSHASA, DRC – Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC’s) Hydrocarbons minister, is heading for Cape Town in November for the African Energy Week (AEW) 2021.
Confirmed as a speaker at Africa’s premier energy event, Ntubuanga is tasked with improving his country’s regional relations, attracting critical investment, and showcasing the significant oil, gas and renewable potential.
The DRC holds the second largest crude oil reserves in central and southern Africa after Angola, with proven reserves sitting at 180 million barrels while estimated reserves are as high as 5 billion barrels. Primarily located in the four major lakes, the reserves have the potential to dramatically increase production and exports, initiating sustainable economic development for the region.
Currently, French oil major Total and DRC parastatal Cohydro are undertaking exploratory and preliminary extractive activities in the eastern DRC, with Anglo-French firm Perenco comprising the only oil company producing in the DRC with 23 000 boepd produced in 2020. The company operates 11 field onshore and offshore as well as the Kalamu floating terminal with a 1 million barrels of oil storage capacity.
With no refineries in the country, the DRC exports all of its production capacity, relying on refined product imports to sustain its economy. Therefore, a significant investment opportunity has emerged, and Ntubuanga is keen on capitalising on it at AEW 2021.
In addition to significant oil reserves, the DRC has approximately 30 billion cubic metres of methane and natural gas. With little to no development in this field, the DRC has the opportunity to leverage these resources for power generation, with methane in particular providing a unique power opportunity. Already, neighbouring Rwanda has seen some success in this area with the operation of the KivuWatt power plant.
By focusing development in this field, and driving investment at AEW 2021, Ntubuanga can significantly enhance electrification, spurring economic development in the process.
“The DRC holds some of the most impressive energy resources not only on the continent, but in the world. With potential in the oil, natural gas, and renewable sectors, the country is well on its way to transforming its energy and economic environment. What the DRC urgently needs is investment, and AEW 2021 provides the best platform by which this can be attained. The event unites global and regional stakeholders in Cape Town, emphasizing networking, engagement, and deal making. We are confident that the DRC will establish fundamental partnerships and sign transformative deals that will elevate the country to global energy success,” said NJ Ayuk, the executive chair of the African Energy Chamber.
Meanwhile, the DRC holds some of the largest hydropower potential in Africa – estimated at 100,000MW – leading to a renewed focus to further capitalize on its significant resources through the expansion of existing hydroelectric facilities. 96% of power generation in the DRC comes from hydropower, the bulk of which derives from the Inga I and Inga II dams located in the Kongo Central Province. With an installed capacity of 1 775MW, and new plans to expand the facility to produce a cumulative output capacity of 42,000MW through the Inga III project, the DRC is positioning itself as a regional renewable power producer.