Israeli billionaire finds 3-bln-barrel oil reserve in Congo

Reuters

KINSHASA (Reuters) - An oil company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler said on Thursday it had discovered reserves of around 3 billion barrels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Oil of DRCongo said in a statement that an analysis of seismic survey data "indicates around three billion barrels of oil in place".

The crude, which is on a similar scale to the proven reserves of oil producers Britain and South Sudan, was discovered around Lake Albert, on Congo's eastern border with Uganda.

The nearby Ugandan blocks are estimated to hold a similar amount of oil and are being developed by British company Tullow, France's Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corp.

"These are very positive results from our extensive seismic campaign," said Giuseppe Ciccarelli, CEO of Oil of DRCongo. "We continue to believe the project has the potential to provide significant revenues and multiple other benefits to the people of (Congo)."

Resource-rich Congo produces just 25,000 barrels of oil per day from onshore and offshore fields in western coastal areas and is seeking to increase production dramatically to boost growth and relieve poverty.

Oil of DRCongo said production of just 50,000 barrels per day at Lake Albert would expand Congo's economy by 25 percent. Oil made up just 1.7 percent of Congo's GDP in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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