The Sleeper Crypto of 2024?

One little-known coin is quietly gearing up for a potential breakout. Our analysts believe it could be the surprise crypto hit of 2024. Discover the name of this under-the-radar gem and our full analysis for just $3.

As Congo seeks to expand drilling, some communities worry pollution will worsen

SAM MEDNICK
February 29, 2024

MOANDA, Congo (AP) -- The oil drills that loom down the road from Adore Ngaka's home remind him daily of everything he's lost. The extraction in his village in western Congo has polluted the soil, withered his crops and forced the family to burn through savings to survive, he said.

Pointing to a stunted ear of corn in his garden, the 27-year-old farmer says it's about half the size he got before oil operations expanded nearly a decade ago in his village of Tshiende.

"It's bringing us to poverty," he said.

Congo, a mineral-rich nation in central Africa, is thought to have significant oil reserves, too. Drilling has so far been confined to a small territory on the Atlantic Ocean and offshore, but that's expected to change if the government successfully auctions 30 oil and gas blocks spread around the country. Leaders say economic growth is essential for their impoverished people, but some communities, rights groups and environmental watchdogs warn that expanded drilling will harm the landscape and human health.

Since the French-British hydrocarbon company, Perenco, began drilling in Moanda territory in 2000, residents say pollution has worsened, with spills and leaks degrading the soil and flaring -- the intentional burning of natural gas near drilling sites -- fouling the air they breathe. And the Congolese government exerts little oversight, they say.

Perenco said it abides by international standards in its extraction methods, that they don't pose any health risks and that any pollution has been minor. The company also said it offered to support a power plant that would make use of the natural gas and thus reduce flaring. The government did not respond to questions about the proposed plant.

Congo's minister overseeing oil and gas, Didier Budimbu, said the government is committed to protecting the environment.

___

Congo is home to most of the Congo Basin rainforest, the world's second-biggest, and most of the world's largest tropical peatland, made up of partially decomposed wetlands plant material. Together, both capture huge amounts of carbon dioxide -- about 1.5 billion tons a year, or about 3% of global emissions. More than a dozen of the plots up for auction overlap with protected areas in peatlands and rainforests, including the Virunga National Park, which is home to some of the world's rarest gorillas.

The government said the 27 oil blocks available have an estimated 22 billion barrels. Environmental groups say that auctioning more land to drill would have consequences both in Congo and abroad.

"Any new oil and gas project, anywhere in the world, is fueling the climate and nature crisis that we're in," said Mbong Akiy Fokwa Tsafak, program director for Greenpeace Africa. She said Perenco's operations have done nothing to mitigate poverty and instead degraded the ecosystem and burdened the lives of communities.

Environmental activists said Congo has strong potential to instead develop renewable energy, including solar, as well as small-scale hydropower. It's the world's largest producer of cobalt, a key component for batteries in electric vehicles and other products essential to the global energy transition, although cobalt mining comes with its own environmental and human risks.

Budimbu said now is not the time to move away from fossil fuels when the country is still reliant on them. He said fossil fuel dependency will be phased out in the long term.

___

Rich in biodiversity, Moanda abuts the Mangrove National Park -- the country's only marine protected area. Perenco has been under scrutiny for years, with local researchers, aid groups and Congo's Senate making multiple reports of pollution dating back more than a decade. Two civil society organizations, Sherpa and Friends of the Earth France, filed a lawsuit in 2022 accusing Perenco of pollution caused by the oil extraction; that suit is still pending.

During a rare visit by international media to the oil fields, including two villages near drilling, The Associated Press spoke with dozens of residents, local officials and rights organizations. Residents say drilling has inched closer to their homes and they have seen pipes break regularly, sending oil into the soil. They blame air and ground pollution for making it hard to cultivate crops and causing health problems such as skin rashes and respiratory infections.

They said Perenco has responded quickly to leaks and spills but failed to address root problems.

AP journalists visited drilling sites, some just a few hundred meters from homes, that had exposed and corroding pipes. They also saw at least four locations that were flaring natural gas, a technique that manages pressure by burning off the gas that is often used when it is impractical or unprofitable to collect. AP did not see any active spill sites.

Between 2012 and 2022 in Congo, Perenco flared more than 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas -- a carbon footprint equivalent to that of about 20 million Congolese, according to the Environmental Investigative Forum, a global consortium of environmental investigative journalists. The group analyzed data from Skytruth, a group that uses satellite imagery to monitor threats to the planet's natural resources.

Flaring of natural gas, which is mostly methane, emits carbon dioxide, methane and black soot and is damaging to health, according to the International Energy Agency.

In the village of Kinkazi, locals told AP that Perenco buried chemicals in a nearby pit for years and they seeped into the soil and water. They displayed photos of what they said were toxic chemicals before they were buried and took reporters to the site where they said they'd been discarded. It took the community four years of protests and strikes before Perenco disposed of the chemicals elsewhere, they said.

Most villagers were reluctant to allow their names to be used, saying they feared a backlash from a company that is a source of casual labor jobs. Minutes after AP reporters arrived in one village, a resident said he received a call from a Perenco employee asking the purpose of the meeting.

One who was willing to speak was Gertrude Tshonde, a farmer, who said Perenco began dumping chemicals near Kinkazi in 2018 after a nearby village refused to allow it.

"People from Tshiende called us and asked if we were letting them throw waste in our area," Tshonde said. "They said the waste was not good because it spreads underground and destroys the soil."

Tshonde said her farm was behind the pit where chemicals were being thrown and her cassava began to rot.

AP could not independently verify that chemicals had been buried at the site.

Perenco spokesman Mark Antelme said the company doesn't bury chemicals underground and that complaints about the site near Kinkazi were related to old dumping more than 20 years ago by a predecessor company. Antelme also said Perenco hasn't moved operations closer to people's homes. Instead, he said, some communities have gradually built closer to drilling sites.

Antelme also said the company's flaring does not release methane into the atmosphere.

Perenco said it contributes significantly to Moanda and the country. It's the sole energy provider in Moanda and invests about $250 million a year in education, road construction, training programs for medical staff and easier access to health care in isolated communities, the company said.

But residents say some of those benefits are overstated. A health clinic built by Perenco in one village has no medicine and few people can afford to pay to see the doctor, they said.

And when Perenco compensates for oil leak damages, locals say it's not enough.

Tshonde, the farmer, said she was given about $200 when an oil spill doomed her mangoes, avocado and maize eight years ago. But her losses were more than twice that. Lasting damage to her land from Perenco's operations has forced her to seek other means of income, such as cutting trees to sell as charcoal.

Many other farmers whose land has been degraded are doing the same, and tree cover is disappearing, she said.

Budimbu, the minister of hydrocarbons, said Congo's laws prohibit drilling near homes and fields and oil operators are required to take the necessary measures to prevent and clean up oil pollution. But he didn't specify what the government was doing in response to community complaints.

___

Congo has struggled to secure bidders since launching the auction in July 2022. Three companies -- two American and one Canadian -- moved on three methane gas blocks in Lake Kivu, on the border with Rwanda. The government said in May that they were about to close those tenders, but did not respond to AP's questions in January about whether those deals were finalized.

There are no known confirmed deals on the 27 oil blocks, and the deadline for expressions of interest has been extended through this year. Late last year, Perenco withdrew from bidding on two blocks in the province near where it currently operates. The company didn't respond to questions from AP about why it withdrew, but Africa Intelligence reported that Perenco had found the blocks to have insufficient potential.

Perenco also didn't respond when asked whether it was pursuing any other blocks.

Environmental experts say bidding may be slow because the country is a hard place to operate with rampant conflict, especially in the east where violence is surging and where some of the blocks are located.

Local advocacy groups say the government should fix problems with Perenco before bringing in other companies.

"We first need to see changes with the company we have here before we can trust other(s)," said Alphonse Khonde, the coordinator of the Group of Actors and Actions for Sustainable Development.

Congo also has a history of corruption. Little of its mineral wealth has trickled down in a country that is one of the world's five poorest, with more than 60% of its 100 million people getting by on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank.

And some groups have criticized what they see as lack of transparency on the process of offering blocks for auction, which amounts to "local communities being kept in the dark over plans to exploit their lands and resources," said Joe Eisen, executive director of the Rainforest Foundation UK.

Some communities where the government has failed to provide jobs and basic services say they have few options but to gamble on allowing more drilling.

In Kimpozia village, near one of the areas up for auction, some 150 people live nestled in the forest without a school or hospital. Residents must hike steep hills and travel on motorbike for five hours to reach the nearest health clinic and walk several hours to school. Louis Wolombassa, the village chief, said the village needs road-building and other help.

"If they come and bring what we want, let them drill," he said.

___

Follow Sam Mednick on X: @sammednick

___

The Associated Press' climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP's standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

Continue Reading...

Popular

One Coin to Rule Them All... - Ad

Hardly any investors are talking about this coin but I believe that's about to change with some potentially huge news! Get in on the ground floor while it's rock bottom with this new how-to guide, just $3.

How O.J. Simpson burned the Ford Bronco into America's collective memory

The Ford Bronco initially was conceived and designed for rugged outdoorsy types, a two-door means of escape to nature from the bustling cities of mid-century America.

The EU plans to fast-track some financial aid to Egypt. The usual funding safeguards will not apply

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union intends to fast-track some of its aid money to Egypt using an urgent funding procedure that bypasses parliamentary oversight and other safeguards, according to the president of the bloc’s executive branch.

The No. 1 AI Stock of 2024 (Not Nvidia) - Ad

It's not Nvidia, Meta Platforms, Alphabet, or Amazon. But thanks to a recent major deal, an under-the-radar stock could become the No. 1 winner of the AI boom. "This company just teamed up with one of the biggest power players in the AI industry... yet you can still buy it for just one-twelfth the price of Nvidia -- the time to buy is NOW," says Marc Chaikin.

US Postal Service seeking to hike cost of first-class stamp to 73 cents

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service signaled plans Tuesday for a rate increase that includes hiking the cost of a first-class stamp from 68 cents to 73 cents, part of an overall 7.8% increase to take effect this summer.

Ex-Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg to be sentenced for perjury, faces second stint in jail

NEW YORK (AP) — Allen Weisselberg, a former longtime executive in Donald Trump’s real estate empire, is set to be sentenced Wednesday for lying under oath in the ex-president’s New York .

America's Cash Bubble Set to Burst on May 1, 2024 - Ad

For the first time I've ever heard of... we know the exact day (and time) a bubble is going to burst. This is insane and something we only have access to because of Jason's findings (that he's sharing with his ultra-elite clients). To find out what the cash bubble is and why you're vulnerable to it without even realizing...

FBI Chief To Warn Congress Of Potential Coordinated Attack In US Similar To Russia Massacre: 'Threats To Our Public Safety And National Security...So Elevated'

FBI Director Christopher Wray is expected to raise concerns about the possibility of a coordinated attack in the United States, similar to the recent massacre in Russia, in a congressional hearing on Thursday.

Last call for dry towns? New York weighs lifting post-Prohibition law that let towns keep booze bans

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York towns and villages that have post-Prohibition bans on alcohol sales would be forced to lift such restrictions under a bill moving through the Legislature.

Why Gold Is Headed Above $3,000 - Ad

Many experts believe gold is headed to $3,000/oz. or even higher. As this rally picks up... most investors will likely run out and buy an ETF, a gold mining stock, or even bullion. But there's actually a much better way to profit from the emerging gold boom (with just $5.)

A healthy US economy's secret ingredient: Immigrant workers, eager to fill jobs

MIAMI (AP) — Having fled economic and political chaos in Venezuela, Luisana Silva now loads carpets for a South Carolina rug company. She earns enough to pay rent, buy groceries, gas up her car — and send money home to her parents.

In Blow To Trump, Court Agrees To Keep Witnesses Anonymous In Mar-a-Lago Documents Mishandling Case

In a recent development in the case against former U.S. President Donald Trump over alleged mishandling of classified documents, the court has ruled that the witnesses involved can remain anonymous.

EXPOSED: How the Rich Are Using A.I. To Get An Unfair Advantage - Ad

The wealthy elite have always used cutting-edge technology to get an unfair advantage... A.I. will be no different. Right now, A.I. is creating a huge wealth-building advantage for folks who know how to use it.

Company that made millions of defective sleep apnea machines ordered to overhaul manufacturing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The company responsible for a will be barred from resuming production at U.S. facilities until it meets a number of safety requirements, under a announced Tuesday by federal officials.

Jessica Alba steps down as chief creative officer at Honest, the personal care company she founded

Jessica Alba, who shot to fame in the James Cameron television series “Dark Angel,” as well as films such as “Sin City” and the “Fantastic Four,” will step down as chief creative officer at Honest Company, a personal care company that she founded.

"Safe" Investors Who Don't Get Out of Cash NOW Could Lose Everything Over the Next Six Months - Ad

The next six months are going to be some of the most precarious times to invest in the history of the United States. Because for the first time, your money is at risk of being completely wiped out, even when you think it is safest. This bubble is on a schedule and to get out before your portfolio becomes shark bait, you need to...

Culinary diplomacy: The internet is obsessed with what Janet Yellen eats in China

BEIJING (AP) — Ever since she ate mushrooms that can have psychedelic effects in Beijing last July, has united Americans and Chinese in wanting to know what she will eat next.

Top Crypto Analyst Says Bitcoin Could Retest All-Time High, 'If It Holds Above $69K'

Renowned crypto analyst Michaël van de Poppe has indicated that Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) could be on the verge of testing its all-time high, contingent on its ability to maintain a key price level.

A.I. Pioneer Issues Urgent Warning to Americans - Ad

According to one early A.I. pioneer: "You can either use this as an unfair advantage to grow your wealth, or you can let it ravage your retirement savings. There's no middle option."

Google's Gemini 1.5 Pro AI Could Change How You Play Games And File Insurance Claims

Google Cloud unveils Gemini 1.5 Pro, a more advanced AI model, with enhanced performance and long-context understanding at Cloud Next event.

Apple Preps Biggest iPad Overhaul In Years After 18 Months Pause With New Pro, Air Models

Apple is expected to launch new iPad Pro and iPad Air models in the second week of May, ending a nearly 18-month drought.

Legendary Stockpicker: "Buy This A.I. Stock NOW" - Ad

His award-winning system pinpointed NVDA and META before both stocks doubled. Now it's flashing "BUY" on this under-the-radar A.I. stock.

What's Going On With Weed Stocks Aurora Cannabis And Canopy Growth?

Aurora Cannabis, Inc. and Canopy Growth Corporation shares are trading lower Tuesday in sympathy with Tilray Brands which fell after reporting worse-than-expected third-quarter results. 

Freight railroads ask courts to throw out new rule requiring two-person crews on trains

Four railroads have asked federal appeals courts to throw out a that would require two-person train crews in most circumstances, saying the mandate is arbitrary, capricious and an illegal abuse of discretion.

Gold: Now Legal Tender - Ad

Most Americans missed this big story, but 1 in 5 states have now made gold and silver coins legal tender. It's just one reason why so many predict gold will soon hit $5,000. And why you need to check out this $5 strategy for gold immediately.

Salvage crews have begun removing containers from the ship that collapsed Baltimore's Key bridge

BALTIMORE (AP) — Salvage crews on Sunday began removing containers from the deck of the cargo ship that crashed into and collapsed the , an important step toward the full reopening of one of the nation’s main shipping lanes.

Cannabis Market's Trading Volume Surges Up 292%, Viridian Capital Highlights Mixed Liquidity

A recent analysis by Viridian Capital Advisors provides intriguing insights into the liquidity of cannabis companies, indicating both advancements and setbacks in the sector.

My No. 1 Coin Is... - Ad

You're looking for the #1 Coin to invest in... Am I right? Then check out this special $3 report. Inside, you'll find the name of the coin, how to invest, and what to expect. Don't miss your chance...

Trump Vs. Biden: Youngest Voters Split On Who They Would Pick In 2024 Election, Why This Could Decide Who Wins

The 18-34 voter demographic are split between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in a recent 2024 election poll. Why that's important according to historical data.

2,000,000 "A.I. Crown Jewels" Set for Mass Production - Ad

A.I. investors...get ready: Because this little-known supplier just received a GIGANTIC order from Nvidia. It's one of the biggest production runs in technology history. And it's part of the reason why Barrons says this supplier could see $100 BILLION in sales by 2025.

Bitcoin Haven El Salvador Is Offering 5000 'Free Passports' Says Nayib Bukele: 'Will Facilitate Their Relocation By Ensuring 0% Taxes'

Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador, announced a plan to offer 5,000 free passports to highly skilled professionals from around the world, promising a significant impact on the country’s future.

Premier League to use semi-automated offside technology from next season

LONDON (AP) — The Premier League will use semi-automated offside technology from next season.

"This Will Be Bigger Than Tesla" -- Elon Musk - Ad

Elon Musk has cracked open a radical wealth-building opportunity, one that's set to close shut by May 16, 2024. It has to do with a new venture that Elon Musk is set to roll out... Something I'm calling "Elon's A.I. 2.0."

Stocks Fall Ahead Of Key Inflation Data, Gold Defends Record Highs; Bitcoin Stumbles Below $70,000: What's Driving Markets Tuesday?

Stocks edged lower during midday trading on Tuesday as traders maintained a cautious stance in anticipation of the highly awaited Consumer Price Index (CPI) report scheduled for Wednesday, which could offer crucial insights into the potential course of actions by the Fed.

Enliven Therapeutics Shares First Look At Safety, Clinical Activity Of Lead Program

Enliven Therapeutics' Phase 1 trial results for ELVN-001 in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. Explore the promising safety and efficacy data.

The Six Words That Could Destroy America... And the Value of Your Savings. - Ad

He predicted the dangerous rise of inflation... the death of the 60/40 portfolio... and now, this 40-year market veteran and retirement expert is stepping forward with a new must-see warning for every American. It involves the world's most powerful investors, central bankers, and America's most bitter geopolitical rivals.

Is Niu Technologies Ready To Charge Ahead Again?

Key Takeaways: Niu Technologies said its unit sales at home and abroad rose more than 30% in the first quarter, following a tough 2023 when its revenue fell 16% The electric scooter maker’s shares jumped 34% from an all-time low in the week following the announcement By Edith Terry

Trending Now

Information, charts or examples are for illustration and educational purposes only and not for individualized investment management This message contains commercial elements, such as advertising. We only send these offers to those who have opted in to our newsletter. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For these reasons we strongly suggest trading in a DEMO/Simulated account. The information provided by us is for educational and informational purposes only. We make no representations or warranties concerning the products, practices or procedures of any company or entity mentioned or recommended and have not determined if the statements and opinions of the advertiser are accurate, correct or truthful. If you use, act upon or make decisions in reliance on information contained or any external source linked within it, you do so at your own peril and agree to hold us, our officers, directors, shareholders, affiliates and agents without fault.

Copyright trendadvisor.net
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service