Energy firm to mine oil sands in the Republic of Congo
May 21, 2008
Eni SpA, one of Italy’s largest energy companies, has signed an agreement to exploit oil sands in the Republic of Congo, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The deal covers the two areas of Tchikatanga and Tchikatanga-Makola. Eni estimates recoverable reserves of between 500 million barrels and 2.5 billion barrels, the industry observes said the actual recoverable reserves are likely on the lower of the range.
The Wall Street Journal says the deal shows that oil companies are finding it increasingly difficult to replace the oil they pump out of the ground.
Eni and the Republic of Congo also signed a deal for to turn 70,000 hectares of “unfarmed” land into oil palm plantations in the Niari region in northwest Republic of Congo.
The on-shore plant of M’Boundi, located near the new oil sands project. Courtesy of Eni.
Eni said the concession is expected to yield around 340,000 metric tons of crude palm oil annually, some of which will be converted into biodiesel.
While it was unclear whether forested lands would be impacted by the agreements, in a press release Eni claimed its model would promote “industrial and energy development while respecting the environment and business sustainability.” Eni also announced social initiatives “aimed at enhancing infant healthcare in Congo’s rural areas,” including a vaccination program.
Oil is a major source of revenue for the Republic of Congo. The country exports more than 200,000 barrels of petroleum per day.