BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) – Congo Republic has lowered oil and gas royalty rates under a new petroleum code approved by parliament as part of efforts to encourage investment in new exploration, an oil ministry official said on Friday.
Under the new law, oil royalties are being reduced to 12 percent from 15 percent previously and gas royalties have been cut to five percent from 15 percent, said Brice Sebastien Poaty, legal advisor at the ministry.
“Most of our fields have arrived at maturity. We needed to try to develop them because these fields still contain oil reserves,” Poaty said. “We also must explore for oil deep offshore. That requires big investments.”
The new oil and gas law, which must now be enacted by President Denis Sassou Nguesso, also bans gas flaring, requiring instead that excess gas be channelled into industrial projects.
New production sharing agreements must also reserve a 15 percent stake for private Congolese companies. That stake is 25 percent for projects aiming to relaunch production on old fields, Poaty said.
Companies operating in Congo Republic include France’s Total, Italy’s ENI, London-listed Tullow and the U.S. firm Chevron.
(Reporting by Christian Elion; writing by Joe Bavier; editing by David Clarke)