July 3 (Bloomberg) — High Resolution Technology Petroleum, a Brazilian geological surveyor, will begin mapping an uncharted area in the Democratic Republic of Congo that may have oil deposits, Hydrocarbons Minister Lambert Mende said.
The Rio de Janeiro-based company is conducting preliminary analysis on three of 26 blocks in the Cuvette Centrale basin, an 800,000-square-kilometer (308,882-square-mile) area of tropical rainforest in the center of the country, Mende said yesterday in an interview in the capital, Kinshasa. Initial estimates provided by HRT suggest there may be 10 billion barrels of light crude in the basin, he said.
“HRT will take one year to do their work,” Mende said. “After that we’ll open it up for exploration.”
Congo’s first democratic government in more than four decades is trying to rebuild an economy shattered by two civil wars between 1996 and 2003 that left 4 million people dead. It’s also trying to diversify its economy away from metals such as copper and cobalt, of which it has some of the world’s biggest deposits.