Afrika, Climate, Energy, Gastbeitrag, Kongo

On-going scams in the DR Congo – the latest quest to find oil in the Heart of Darkness

Gastbeitrag von Robert S. Stewart

Moorgebiet Regenwald Kongo (Credit: CIFOR)

Anmerkung A. Müller/Contextlink: Dieser Gastbeitrag ist ein Kommentar zur aktuellen Versteigerung von Konzessionen zur Erschliessung und Ausbeutung von Oelfeldern im Regenwald der Demokratischen Republik Kongo. Der Autor Robert Stewart ist ein langjähriger Insider des Rohstoff-Geschäfts in Afrika, den ich aus der Zeit meiner Afrikareportagen in den 1990er Jahren für das Schweizer Fernsehen kenne. Einordnende Ergänzungen zm Thema und einige Angaben mehr zur Person Robert Stewart, finden sich im Post “Der Kongo spielt die Klimakarte”.

There are ten very valid reasons not to consider searching for hydrocarbons throughout the Congo basin in a country of the same name: 1.) The first reason is that there probably are none in sufficient quantity or; 2.) quality, to 3.) efficiently and 4.) economically 5.) explore for, 6.) recover, 7.) refine locally, 8.) transport to markets via pipeline and ship, 9.) around the country or 10.) across the world. If you are one of a handful of experienced developers of petroleum around the world with anything close to half a century of past experience, you would be the last person to consider this foolish option.

Only half-witted promoters, bankers and brokers looking for a commission to promote a fake investment would stand behind such an illogical, pathetic proposal at a time when the world is suffering from a major energy crunch brought on by Putin’s War in Ukraine.

There are far better locations in the world with enormous reserves already discovered, near refineries, transport systems and markets waiting for delivery that will earn strong profits, even if the prices return to historical norms. Try the North Sea, Middle East, Indonesia, Northern Canada, the Gulf of Mexico and existing African finds in Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. 

This proposal follows on from decades of fraud and corruption conceived by domestic politicians in league with junior financial institutions, promoters, bankers and brokers living off the fat of Africa’s failed history.

The DRC has been through this a dozen times. If you are in one of those professions and wish to both make a decent profit and benefit the country, consider hydro-electric power dams and transmission, forestry, agricultural products, and especially minerals or all differing value and content to develop. In any of these you would make a solid contribution to the country and people’s development. But you must be aggressively careful not to fall into a deep well of corruption at every level of the game. Caveat Emptor.

Having gone through the drilling records of dozens of world-class petroleum majors over the past century, only small quantities were discovered along the Rwenzori Mountains and Lakes of Eastern Congo beside neighbouring Uganda, and offshore in the Atlantic Ocean between the other Congo and Angola/Gabon, south of the Nigerian fields.

Like the Inga-Shaba hydro-electric power line that traversed the entire country carrying energy to Shaba Province, once you’ve identified a market, there is a long way to get it there through tortuous jungles, swamps, savannas and river crossings. The DRC is the size of continental Europe and its terrain is anything but easy to traverse. One must be careful of the economics, political landscape, social and environmental infrastructure of the country before embarking on an investment program which scales the heights as the world’s most expensive industry to develop.

I know, I wrote the only ultra-large-scale macroeconomic Master Plan to fully rehabilitate and develop the country’s abundant natural resources in 1997. Back then, development of the country’s petroleum reserves was a distant priority. There were many other ways to create the richest country in Africa using far less risk, requiring a massive amount of international funding or succumbing to domestic political monkey business, a disease which grew out of control on many levels and in many fields (medical/health, political corruption and international money laundering). They remain the chief drawbacks to carrying out an intelligent plan for petroleum development.

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