Kinshasa sentenced to pay $617 million to DIG OIL

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration has ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay US$617 million to the South African company DIG Oil Ltd for failing to honour two oil contracts. The Court alleges that Congo has failed to fulfil its obligations by refusing presidential approval for production-sharing agreements for certain oil blocks in central and eastern Congo. DIG Oil had signed a first contract at the end of 2007 for three blocks located in central Congo, and was part of a consortium of oil companies that had obtained an agreement for a single permit in the east of the country. The South African firm brought an action before the International Court of Arbitration in October 2016, after President Joseph Kabila decided to transfer some of these permits to companies owned by Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. However, according to the financial information website Bloomberg, President Kabila finally signed one of the two contracts in dispute, a few weeks before leaving office, perhaps seeking to avoid the payment of penalties in Congo.