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Cablegate: Petroleum Shortages in Katanga

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001840

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ECIN EPET CG
SUBJECT: PETROLEUM SHORTAGES IN KATANGA

1. Summary. Petroleum shortages resulting from Zambia
closing its border to exports are affecting the Katanga
region, home to most of the DRC's copper and cobalt mining.
Poor transportation infrastructure and an inefficient
parastatal petroleum company leave the GDRC unable to supply
the region from other parts of the country. End Summary.

2. DRC petroleum parastatal Cohydro has no refinery or
reliable system of transportation to supply the south-east of
the country. Cohydro has regularly imported petroleum from
Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa to meet local demand.
Most imports are funneled through Zambia to the DRC border
crossing at Kasumbalesa.

3. Approximately two weeks ago, the Zambian government closed
its border to all petroleum imports into the DRC. (Note: The
border was closed to all petroleum imports regardless of
their country of origin. End Note.) Zambian authorities
cited an increase in smuggling and claimed that Zambian
refineries were only producing enough petroleum to meet
Zambian demand. (Note: Last year, Zambian officials
prevented 150 truckloads of petroleum from crossing into the
DRC, demanding payment of USD 100 per truckload. The
truckers refused to pay, and the matter was only resolved
after bilateral talks between the DRC and Zambia. While some
tension still exists regarding the issue of petroleum
imports, post does not believe this to have affected the
recent Zambian decision to close the border. End Note.)

4. In the past two weeks, petroleum supplies in Lubumbashi
have dwindled. Local mining sector sources report that there
is currently no jet A1 fuel or gasoline available, and that
diesel fuel is being rationed at 10 liters per day. (Note:
MONUC has a contract with Shell to supply its forces in the
area with gasoline and diesel fuel. Shell flies these
supplies into Lubumbashi, leaving MONUC unaffected by the
shortage. End Note.)
MEECE

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