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17 Mär 2015

Melanie Gouby, Guardian [UK]

Democratic Republic of Congo wants to open up Virunga national park to oil exploration

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s prime minister has said that his government wants to find a way to explore for oil in the Virunga national park, a Unesco world heritage site , and will engage in negotiations with the UN body to “explore judiciously”...

Soco [a British oil company registered on the London Stock Exchange].has carried out exploratory activities in Virunga, concluding a seismic study in July 2014. The company said it will hand over the results of the seismic survey to the Congolese government in coming months.

It is based on these results that the DRC will decide whether to explore further...

In its annual report issued last week, Soco stated that it will not be part of the discussions between the UN body and the government. However, prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo told the BBC that “Soco had brought the issue of the boundary to the government’s attention.”...

As part of its report, Soco also announced that it has hired the legal firm Clifford Chance to carry out an independent investigation into the allegations brought forward by the documentary Virunga, as well as Human Rights Watch and Global Witness...