Seeing the potential for oil production as a way to bring money to a recovering, impoverished nation, the Congolese government granted SOCO oil concessions in areas along Virunga’s boundaries, and the company began to explore the oil resources there. Confirmation of oil under Virunga made SOCO anxious to get drilling. SOCO drew out after the Virunga Documentary came out, but who is to say that the Congolese government won’t grant rights to another company? Uganda is allowing oil to be drilled from Lake Edward. Nobody really knows if the Congolese government will allow SOCO to resume the search for oil or let another company in to try it out.
2015 In 2007, the Congolese ministry of hydrocarbons awarded two oil concessions. One to French major Total and the other to SOCO. Total said they won’t drill in Virunga, but SOCO has been exploring. They took a seismograph and they had not yet handed over the document in 2015. That is what the DRC will base it’s side upon. To begin drilling, SOCO would have to modify the limits of the park or get rid of Virunga as a whole.
2017 The government has lost it’s ability to project authority which has lead to rampant corruption, a small capacity to raise and manage revenues, and the destablitizing precense of armed groups, especially in the Eastern DRC, where Virunga lies. The UN has been present since 1995. The UN renewed a mandate earlier this year to have a “troop ceiling” of 16,215. U.S. relations with the Congo are deep and longstanding. The U.S. is trying to make the DRC stable and a democratic nation, at peace with other surrounding nations, and able to help it’s own people.