The negotiations between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the demarcation of the common petroleum mining zone in the Atlantic Ocean were continuing smoothly, said DRC's hydrocarbon minister Lambert Mende Omalanga Monday.
The negotiations will notably enable the DRC to enlarge its petroleum exploration and mining zone on the Atlantic coast, according to the minister.
"At the moment, DRC's petroleum production stands at 25,000 barrels per day, compared to 1.3 million barrels for Angola and 350,000 barrels for the Republic of Congo. What this means is that we have a very limited mining zone and that is why we are holding these negotiations with Angola. I believe that we are making progress as we have already identified a zone that is of mutual interest to both the countries," the minister said.
Turning to the issue of Lake Albert, the minister said that negotiations with Uganda on the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources at Lake Albert, which is located on the common border between the two countries, were going on.
Noting that significant hydrocarbon reserves had been discovered at Lake Albert, the minister said, "Uganda is already mining petroleum on the lake and we are negotiating with the Ugandan authorities in order to ensure that their activities do not encroach on our territory."
"We have to ensure that petroleum mining on Lake Albert does not become a source of conflict with Uganda," the minister said.
Relations between Kampala and Kinshasa have been icy recently, with Kampala threatening to send troops across the border if no action is taken against Congolese soldiers who captured four Ugandan soldiers and later killed a British oil surveyor on Lake Albert, which is the focus of a new hunt for crude oil.