Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)


The Dr Congos Petroleum Industry: Confusion and Misperception over the Real Physical Density of Crude Oil Produced in the Kongo Central Province of DRC

Author(s): Eustache Tanzala Kikasu

This paper examines the origin of confusion and misperception clouding the real physical density of crude oil produced in the Kongo Central province of the DRC, known as DR Congo. For many decades, there has been doubt, ambiguity, uncertainty and no accuracy or transparency concerning the real physical/chemical characteristics of crude oil produced in the DRC. Therefore, this paper explores and analyses the characteristics of crude oils produced in other world regions to understand and classify the value of the DRC’s produced crude oil, by means of reference to the international standard that define the Gravity (°API) and Sulphur (Wt. %) of crude oil, whether it is light or heavy crude oil. It attempts to bring more evidence of crude oils characteristics that relate to crude oil produced in the DRC since 1973. The objective consists of categorising crude oil produced in the Kongo Central province of the DRC, to determine whether it has been Light Sweet, Light Sour, Medium-Medium Sour, Medium Sour, Heavy Sweet or Heavy Sour. This clarification is very critical in imperative to dissipate the cloud of misinformation and misperception of the property range of crude oil that has been produced consecutively by several multinational oil companies in the DRC since many decades. The PESTIE model or framework was applied to understand the mysterious and ambiguous barriers affecting the entire petroleum industry development in the DRC.

A mixed methods approach was useful to gather different views, opinions and perceptions from qualified stakeholders involved in the DRC’s petroleum industry. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were proficient in revealing often multifaceted of the real value of the DRC’s crude oil. The results of this study revealed that the situation of misperception and confusion overshadowing crude oil specifications in the DRC are caused by a complex situation of the business environment uncertainties and instabilities, as well as the vulnerability of the political and socio-economic environments instituted by the colonial economic model (heritage and culture of exploitation and production of natural mineral resources) imposed by a complex system of the global business environment. Results also claimed that much confusion or uncertainties are from opinions, which are lacking accurate information regarding the correct statistical properties of crude oil produced in the country, as well as from the political interferences, frauds, and corruptions, which have been fuelling or influencing opinions about the mass or natural property range of the DRC’s produced crude oil. One of the approaches suggested in solving various challenges affecting the DRC’s petroleum industry consist of applying the best-practice of the rule of law; the review, monitoring and re-evaluation of policies, regulations, programmes, and strategic plans; transparency system and ensuring the business environment stability in the country. Managing accurately oil and gas activities in the country could be the outcome of less political interference in several socio-economic activities. Thus, it was advised that policymakers and decision-makers have to promote and support the development of research institution in line with the natural mineral resources production and processing industry in the country.

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