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Oil of DRCongo Announces Major Road Investment and Update on Exploration Activities

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Fleurette Group announces that its subsidiary Oil of DRCongo, has signed a formal agreement with the Governor of the Oriental Province in the North East Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mr Jean Bamanisa, to fund the refurbishment of the most critical sections of the Bunia-Kasenyi Road (14km over a total of 40km ). Oil of DRCongo will invest USD $750,000 in the road with the project expected to complete within the next 6-8 months.

The Bunia-Kasenyi Road is a vital artery linking the towns of Bunia and Kasenyi. The road facilitates the supply of goods to Bunia and the on-going trade between these towns, creating jobs, encouraging investment and aiding the development of a region which has been heavily impacted by conflict over so many years. Oil of DRCongo's investment will enable a complete refurbishment of the 14km stretch which has been worst affected by neglect and a lack of investment.

Significant investment in the local community

Oil of DRCongo is proud that it, in its capacity as operator of Bocks I and II on the Albertine Graben, it has far exceeded the licencee's obligations to the DRC with regards to providing local community support. In total Oil of DRCongo has invested almost $4 million in local projects including assistance to the medical/maternity centre in Kasenyi, staffed by two full time doctors and eight nurses. It has also completed feasibility studies for: the refurbishment of the Budana Power Plant with the aim of doubling capacity; the enhancement of waters supply system to Bunia through a new pipeline and new storage/treatment facilities; and the drilling of new water wells in Kasenyi.

Oil of DRCongo has nearly completed the construction in Jiba (North-West Tchomia-Block I area) of a school able to accommodate 200 students. The school is expected to be inaugurated in the third week of March.

Oil of Congo also announces it has completed the construction of the new TV & radio station in Tchomia in the Ituri District, in the Eastern Province. "Community Radio-Television UMOJA" (RTCU) will be a vital communications tool for the people of Tchomia.

Operational update

Oil of DRCongo welcomes the strong endorsement received from the Minister of Hydrocarbons in the DRC, who has noted the significant progress Oil of DRCongo has made at Blocks I and II on the Albertine Graben, to ensure the continued development of these important oilfields. Out of the five petroleum blocks for which the Government of the DRC has signed PSCs, only Blocks I and II have undergone exploration, carried out by Oil of DRCongo. The other companies holding rights on the Albertine Graben have declared "force majeure" due to issues of security and failed to advance exploration activities.

The seismic campaign (1st and 2nd phases) has covered approximately 700km offshore and 150km onshore. Oil of DRCongo has invested in excess of $70 million in the exploration works of the Blocks I & II so far including above $20 million on the seismic investigations.  The seismic data acquisition itself was carried out by TESLA (UK). Oil of DRCongo employed 250 people based in Kasenyi, out of which 204 were Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) locals, for the seismic works.

Next Steps

Oil of DRCongo has now completed the interpretation of the seismic data. Oil of DRCongo's next priority is the establishment of four wells. Oil of DRCongo is carrying out a Feasibility Study aimed at evaluating the entire drilling exercise and in particular, to identify the exact locations of the four wells established by the PSC. The preparation phase of the drilling includes the transport to the sites of the drilling equipment, the installation of a base camp for staff, new supply roads, a new dock on Lake Albert and a landing strip for moving personnel and equipment. The Tender Documents for the drilling works expect to be launched by the end of March 2014. At the same time Oil of DRCongo will identify the new seismic grid necessary to cover the entire available acreage, with particular reference to Block I.

Giuseppe Ciccarelli, CEO of Oil of DRCongo commented:

"We are delighted to be supporting the rehabilitation of this important transport link as part of Oil of DRCongo's on-going commitment to the communities in North East DRC. This project has the potential to provide significant tax revenues and multiple other benefits to the people of the DRC and Fleurette, through its subsidiary Oil of DRCongo, is committed to making the investment required to move the project forward. We are excited about the future prospects for Blocks I and II. Oil of DRCongo is generating jobs, fuelling development and prosperity and contributing to social progress. Fleurette is proud to be leading the effort help the DRC build a competitive, sustainable oil industry."

About Fleurette Group

The Fleurette Group of Companies ("Fleurette") is a Dutch an entrepreneurial business with significant investment in diverse sectors, including natural resources, infrastructure, agriculture and technology. Fleurette has substantial investments and operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The parent company of the group, Fleurette Properties Limited, a Dutch resident company, is owned by Line Trust Corporation Limited strictly and solely as trustees of the Ashdale Settlement, a trust established in 2006 for the benefit of the family of Dan Gertler. Mr Gertler is a citizen and resident of Israel and the DRC (and honorary counsel to the DRC) and is committed to developing the country's natural resources and infrastructure, while investing in the Congolese people and their communities.

Fleurette has a proven track record of successful co-operation with diverse parties, including the DRC State-owned mining company Gécamines, and to date has brought more than USD $7 billion of investment into the DRC, on top of its USD $2 billion in private investment. As a result, Fleurette's subsidiaries and partnerships support around 30,000 jobs in the DRC and are amongst the DRC's leading taxpayers, contributing significant revenues to the State.

Fleurette is also a major contributor to social development in the DRC through the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) and through direct investment in social infrastructure. The GFF is the largest charitable organization in the DRC, funding more than 50 programs and projects across the DRC, which help tens of thousands of Congolese every year.  These include rebuilding key hospitals, notably the Kisangini "Hospital du Cinquantenaire"; supporting the Operation Smile campaign in Lubumbashi and Kinshasa; rebuilding Blaise Pascal School in Lubumbashi; and supporting the Lubumbashi Zoo.

Food security is a critical issue for the DRC and in Kinshasa, Fleurette and the GFF are developing 1,482 acres of land into the Kitoko Food Farm in partnership with local and international organizations. The farm is expected to employ 400 people and is expected to produce more than 4,500 tons of carrots, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and other vegetables in 2014.

For more information on the GFF and its operations please see http://www.gertlerfamilyfoundation.org

About Oil of DRCongo

On 5th May 2010, Fleurette, through Caprikat and Foxwhelp Ltd, two entities created for the Project, entered into a PSC with the DRC Government relating to the oil exploration and production of the Blocks I&II on the Albertine Graben. Presidential Approval was granted on June, 18th, 2010. The Blocks cover an area of over 7000 km2, including onshore and offshore acreage. Caprikat and Foxwhelp Ltd, through Caprikat and Foxwhelp SARL (DRC), hold a 85% interest in the Blocks, while the remaining 15% is held by the DRC Government. Oil of DRCongo was established by Caprikat and Foxwhelp Ltd in the last Quarter of 2010 as Operator. It is responsible, on behalf of the interest holders, for the management and performance of all the activities envisaged by the PSC for the Blocks' development.

A video of the work being done by Oil of DRCongo can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtp5vMqUpnZWxLlCyDj8l5Q

Press enquiries
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SOURCE Fleurette Group

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