Mohammed Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was received on August 22 in Congo-Brazzaville by Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Congolese Minister of Hydrocarbons, kicking off a three-day working visit aimed at boosting regional and global energy cooperation with the Central African producer. This is OPEC’s first-ever state visit to Congo-Brazzaville, with the delegation is organized by African Energy Chamber and attended by Energy Capital Power.
The Secretary General and the Minister expressed their joint enthusiasm toward strengthening relations between OPEC and Congo-Brazzaville, the latter of which joined the Organization in June 2018.
The Republic of the Congo is home to 2.9 billion barrels of proven reserves and represents sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude oil producer
“At OPEC, we are confident that under the excellent leadership of the Minister of Hydrocarbons, we will be turning a new page in the relations between OPEC and the Republic of the Congo,” noted Barkindo.
The visit comes at a crucial turning point for Congo-Brazzaville’s burgeoning energy sector. In recent years, the country has doubled down on efforts to boost its petroleum industry via enhanced private sector participation and foreign direct investment. Between 2015-2019, the Ministry of Hydrocarbons launched licensing rounds with 28 blocks on offer, awarding licenses to leading IOCs including Total, Perenco, Lukoil and Eni.
As sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude oil producer with 2.9 billion barrels of proven reserves, the country is seeking to catalyze broad-based, socioeconomic growth through the development of its oil and gas industry. The Secretary General’s presence in the country underscores growing interest from international stakeholders to engage with the country’s hydrocarbons sector and foster joint energy cooperation.
Barkindo highlighted the vital importance of cooperation among OPEC members and saluted the Congo’s “high level of compliance,” as the country seeks to play an increasingly prominent role on the regional and international energy stage.
“Looking ahead, we need to facilitate the further development of the charter of our cooperation, focusing on long-term cooperation in technology, the energy transition and sustainable development,” he added.
Barkindo’s visit will include high-level meetings with Congolese Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso and Minister Itoua. The Secretary General will also travel to Pointe-Noire on August 24 to visit a platform, as well as meet with the country’s key industry stakeholders and leaders.