Congo minister denies plan to pull Israeli's energy licenses
DR Congo's Oil Minister denies the "Finance Times" story that his government is threatening to take back oil blocks from Dan Gertler affiliated companies.
In a statement, Mogodi said that the "Financial Times" reports "are simply false and are a fanciful misrepresentation of my discussion with the publication's correspondent in Nairobi." He added, "With a watchful eye on the development of oil production across the border, I certainly did say that we 'don’t have time to lose'. However, whilst we recognize our progress is behind that of our neighbors, development is at its planned stage and we are comfortable with progress. Our enthusiasm for the project means we remain impatient though. Caprikat and Foxwhelp have made significant investment into R&D and seismic investigations, and have invested in social welfare projects in the area. This is the progress that the DRC government expected when awarding the blocks and we are satisfied that our expectations are being met. I have written accordingly to the FT and expect them to make suitable amends."
On Monday, the "Financial Times" reported, "The highly sought-after blocks were awarded in 2010 to two offshore companies with no track record in the energy sector, Caprikat and Foxwhelp."
The two oil blocks are in eastern Congo, in the Lake Albert area in the Rift Valley, near the Ugandan border, were awarded to two South African companies in which Gertler has close ties.
On Tuesday, the "Financial Times", followed up on the story, saying, "Like other middlemen who have gained influence and wealth, Dan Gertler is finding it increasingly difficult to avoid the spotlight. There was a time when the 38-year-old Israeli businessman at the center of a gathering storm in Congo over his mining deals was successful in deflecting attention. As his interests have grown, however, he has become a subject of fascination partly as a result of the secrecy surrounding the network of offshore companies he has created to conduct his business.
"The Congolese are acutely conscious of the value of minerals beneath their soil and describe their natural resources as a “geological scandal”. How Mr Gertler has gained such a pivotal position in the country is now the subject of growing scrutiny."
According to the "Financial Times", Gertler arrived in the Congo in 1997, at the suggestion of friends from the Chabad orthodox Jewish community, which has deep roots in the country. Three years later, when Congo was at war, he had his first break, with a monopoly over diamond exports. The paper quotes Congo's Ambassador to South Africa Bene M’Poko as saying in Gertler's defense, “Dan Gertler is an investor who came to the Congo when nobody trusted Congo. They thought it’s risky and at war."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 28, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
- Tel Aviv market report
- Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
- Israeli stocks in NY
- Arbitrage gaps for dual-listed stocks
- Israeli stocks in Europe
- Israeli stocks on other markets
- Tel Aviv 25 options
- Mutual funds
- Current representative shekel rates
- Historical representative shekel rates
- Bank shekel rates
- Shekel/dollar options