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DRC-Angola: Tshisekedi and Lourenço locked in oil struggle

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Friday, 20 March 2020 12:39

Félix Tshisekedi (left), the Congolese president, and João Lourenço, his Angolan counterpart, on 5 January
Félix Tshisekedi (left), the Congolese president, and João Lourenço, his Angolan counterpart, on 5 January. © Presidencia da Republica

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi is growing impatient with the sluggish pace of negotiations with his Angolan counterpart João Lourenço for an offshore oil production-sharing agreement.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has laid claim to a portion of Angola’s offshore oil operations since 2003 and Félix Tshisekedi is starting to show signs of irritation over the sluggish pace of negotiations with his counterpart João Lourenço.

According to a ruling by the UN convention on maritime borders, up to half of the oil currently being pumped by Angola lies in Congolese waters.

During a trip to Washington DC from 1 to 3 March, the Congolese president used a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce as an opportunity to talk behind the scenes with James R. Dunlap, Africa Advisor for ExxonMobil, one of the companies operating Angola’s oil blocks.

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Kinshasa hopes to get these companies on board in bilateral negotiations regarding DRC’s loss of revenues.

On 5 January, during a meeting in Benguela, Angola, the two heads of state agreed to create a commission tasked with defining the terms and conditions under which the zone of common interest, established in 2009 to implement shared ownership of production, will operate.

In the DRC the matter has been entrusted to José Sele Yalaghuli, Minister of Finance, Rubens Mikindo Muhima, Minister of Hydrocarbons, and Nicolas Kazadi, Ambassador-at-Large for Tshisekedi.

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