Italian oil major Eni will launch a pilot of its estimated 500 million and 2.5 billion barrels reserves of recoverable oil sands project in the Republic of Congo, Eni’s chief executive said Thursday (Oct.6, 2011).”Eni-Congo’s great future project for Congo is the oil sands. We have put in place a small pilot which will start next year,” Paolo Scaroni said after meeting Congo’s president Denis Sassou N’Guesso on Thursday in Brazzaville. Eni signed a deal in 2008 with the government of Congo to explore and develop the oil sands field with a surface area of about 1790 square km, in the south of the oil-producing Central African nation. Eni had said it planned to invest 3 billion in the project over the four-year period from 2008-2011. The project has however drawn under criticism from environmental groups which warned that exploiting the non-conventional oil in tar sands could destroy Congo’s rainforest and bio-diversity. Scaroni said the Congo project will be carried out with respect to the environment. “All this will be done, taking into account the environment, which is the number one priority of our activity in Congo,” he said. Congo is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s top crude oil producers. Eni and French group Total and the main operators.
Eni to start Congo pilot oil sands project in 2012. Reuters, Oct 6, 2011