Republic of the Congo Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Congo-Brazzaville has large assets of oil and natural gas in particular. There are also other minerals, including large deposits of high quality iron ore. The potential assets of hydropower for electricity generation are enormous.

The first oil source in the Congo-Brazzaville was discovered in 1957, but only in the 1970s did oil begin to be extracted on a larger scale. In the 1990s, the country developed into one of the largest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Most of the oil is pumped up to sea and at the end of the first decade of the 2000s new oil wells were found there. In 2010, oil production increased by 14 percent, compared to the previous year.

Since 2012, production has decreased somewhat. And in the coming years, it is expected to decline further, because the oil in several old oil fields has started to mine.

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But new oil deposits have been discovered and the known reserves have thus increased. At the current recovery rate, the oil would last for more than 15 years.

The oil industry is dominated by the French company Total.

The center for the oil industry is the port city of Pointe-Noire, where the country’s only refinery is located. Outside Pointe-Noire, natural gas is also extracted.

Natural gas, which is a by-product of oil extraction, is used for electricity generation and as an energy source for industries. Commercial gas production is projected to grow and triple within ten years.

So far, the majority of electricity comes from hydropower plants. Congo has large assets on hydropower and the prospects of becoming more than self-sufficient in electric power, but first more power plants must be built. Expansion is underway, among other things, with Chinese assistance and electricity imports have decreased. Congo-Brazzaville now produces three-quarters of the electricity used. The rest is imported from Congo-Kinshasa.

A bottleneck is the distribution. Only about one-third of households are connected to the country’s electricity grid. Diesel generators are common. The poorest are able to meet their energy needs with firewood.

Until recently, the extensive mineral resources had not been exploited to any significant extent. But in 2013, the extraction of high-grade iron ore began. Exploration of additional deposits is ongoing.

In addition, a number of other minerals are mined in smaller quantities, mainly lead, zinc, gold, diamonds and copper. There are also deposits of phosphate, bauxite and pot ash that have not yet begun to be extracted commercially.
The air pollution in the major cities is severe. The water around the cities is often polluted. Environmentally hazardous waste from industries is rarely handled in orderly forms.


Energy use per person

583 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

213 kWh, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

3 095 thousand tons (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.6 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

62.4 percent (2015)



Parliamentary elections are accused of impartiality

Parliamentary elections are conducted in two rounds. During the election campaign, the opposition and NGOs claim that the regime is using its power over state institutions and media to spread its propaganda. The Election Commission is accused of not being neutral. The PCT government party and its allies receive 108 of 136 seats. The largest opposition party Upads gets seven.


Many dead by gun explosion

At least 240 people are killed when a gunfire in the capital, Brazzaville, explodes. About 2,500 are damaged. At least 16,000 people become homeless. The Defense Minister will later be blamed for the explosion. He and several other soldiers are forced to retire and be prosecuted.

Republic of the Congo Energy and Environment Facts

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