The fear of environmental defenders, as well as the chief warden of the Park the Belgian Emmanuel de Merode, was that seismic exploration and possible oil exploitation could damage the rich and fragile biodiversity of the park. It is not only the refuge of the last Mountain Gorillas shared with the Rwanda Volcanoes Park and the Ugandan Impenetrable Forest, but also includes part of Lake Edward whose ecosystem provides livelihoods for more than 50,000 fishing families; all this could be threatened by a possible oil spill. Two years after Soco left, the nightmare reemerged The letter Africa Energy Intelligence (AEI) of Paris has just showed that the Congolese Government has not stopped with the oil exploitation in the park. The Congolese National Oil Company (Sinohydro) has signed an “agreement in principle” to reassign Soco’s license to an unknown company, named Oil Quest International, a subsidiary of oil quest holdings. , an offshore oil company registered in the Isle of Man owned by Palestinian businessman Amjad Bseisu, Briton, Tom MacKay, adviser of the London-based Gemini Oil & Gas and John Ford.
Author: Congo Basin Forest Partnership Summary: The Virunga National Park is located in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The national park spans over 800,000 hectares. The national Park is a favorite to tourists for having the endangered species, the mountain gorilla. The Congolese government is maintaining silence in the Congo, SOCO remains unsilent. The Congolese government is campaigning to deter SOCO from pursuing oil in Virunga National Park.
Emmanuel de Merode, Virunga National Park director, is being interviewed about how things are going their. Our group is focusing in on what he says about SOCO. In paragraph five Merode talks about how oil companie have been illegally prospecting for oil, most notably SOCO. In paragraph 28 Merode speaks of SOCO once again. In this paragraph they ask the question, “Have they withdrawn?” they meaning SOCO. Merode responds by saying,”Fortunately, they’ve now left Congo altogether and we don’t think they’re coming back, but obviously we’ve remained quite vigilant on that issue.” The interviewer asks a follow up question in the next paragraph which is, “Have SOCO still got the rights to the oil concession, however?” Merode answers by saying,” No, SOCO let the concession rights lapse, but the concession is still in existence. We don’t know exactly what’s happening with that. Another party could potentially come and take that up, but SOCO have disappeared for good, it seems.”