With the government’s finances and governance under renewed scrutiny as a result of a recently agreed IMF bailout, two Congolese companies on August 10 announced a sizable first discovery in the Cuvette basin area. While initial reports may have exaggerated the find’s potential, the announcement highlights some of the challenges facing the country’s oil and gas sector.
- News of the find may boost exploration in northern Congo and its neighbours (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic).
- The discovery's location in an environmentally sensitive area will likely pose reputational problems for potential development partners.
- The IMF deal should bring with it greater scrutiny of state finances, potentially improving governance and reassuring investors.
- Local political actors will struggle for influence amid tougher anti-corruption and reporting requirements for international oil companies.