The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has awarded three licenses for natural gas blocks – the Makelele, Idjwi, and Lwandjofu Blocks – located in the Lake Kivu region in the eastern part of the country.
Announced by the DRC’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons on 16 January, the Makelele Block was awarded to a local subsidiary of international power developer, Symbion Power, and is expected to begin production in 2024.
Meanwhile, the Idjwi Block has been awarded to U.S.-based independent oil and natural gas company, Winds Energy & Production, while the Lwandjofu Block has been awarded to Canadian energy company, Alfajiri Energy.
The DRC’s Minister of Hydrocarbons, H.E. Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, stated that the production sharing contracts will be signed within 15 days, and that he would consider extending the oil blocks tender deadline, which was due to end on 29 January, to allow the allocation of more blocks.
Poised to take advantage of the vast amounts of methane underneath Lake Kivu, Symbion Power has stated that the company will tap into gas resources in water depths of 400m and develop a 60 MW gas-to-electricity project – in line with the DRC’s plan to expand energy access from 10% to 32% by 2030 – that will supply electricity to the North Kivu Province, its capital city of Goma, and the South Kivu Province.
“This is a large investment with a price tag of at least $300 million,” stated Symbion Power CEO, Paul Hinks, adding that, “We are also considering investing in our own private transmission network so we can wheel the power we produce across the region.”
The auction for the three licenses served as part of a licensing round that included 27 onshore oil blocks in the Central African country, covering blocks in the coastal basin of the Kongo Central Province, near Lake Tanganyika in the eastern part of the DRC, in the Cuvette Centrale Province, and in Lake Albert.