Home » DRC moves to revoke oil exploration licenses issued to controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler

DRC moves to revoke oil exploration licenses issued to controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler

by Editorial Team

The Democratic Republic of Congo is making moves to revoke exploration licenses issued to companies controlled by controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Getler.

The licenses allow Gertler’s companies to manage two oil blocks bordering Uganda to the east.

According to Reuters, the government has issued a letter to Gertler’s companies, stating that a production-sharing agreement reached in 2010 was being brought to an end, and asking the companies to transfer all technical data and pay any charges due under the agreement.

Gertler’s Oil of DR Congo oversees his oil interests in the Central African country. 

Through the Hydrocarbons Ministry, the government maintains that Gertler’s licenses have now expired. 

The companies, however, insist that they still hold the rights to the blocks due to a force majeure* declared last year when the government failed to provide an appropriate route to export the oil.

“The force majeure was subsequently confirmed in May 2021 by the State Council and therefore remains in place until the reasons for the force majeure are resolved, by law,” a spokesperson of Oil of DR Congo said. 

The wells are estimated to contain more than 1 billion barrels of oil. Production has not yet launched.

Meanwhile, Oil of DR Congo reiterated its commitment “to working with all parties to resolve the force majeure, identifying a competitive evacuation system, and bringing these assets towards production.”

The Israeli billionaire is a controversial businessman who is known for earning the majority of his wealth in the DRC. He has been sanctioned twice by the U.S. government.

Last month, The Congo is Not for Sale anti-corruption coalition released a financial investigation, claiming that the DRC could lose $3.71 billion from mining and oil deals with Gertler.

Publicly available financial data showed that the DRC government lost $1.95 billion in revenue between 2003 and 2021. According to the coalition, a further $1.76 billion in future royalty payments to Gertler’s companies will be lost between 2021 and 2039 if nothing is done to halt the hemorrhaging of funds. 

The revocation of the licenses may be a move by the government to minimize its losses to the billionaire.

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