Republic of Congo struggling with cooking-gas shortage

Amid a shortage of butane gas in the oil and gas-rich central African nation of the Republic of Congo, consumers are compelled to resort to charcoal for cooking.

The ongoing shortage, which has persisted for more than three weeks, is attributed to maintenance issues at the offshore Nkossa oil and gas field, as confirmed by an official from the Congolese hydrocarbons ministry.

“We are now importing the product,” explained the official.

The Republic of Congo, often referred to as Congo-Brazzaville to differentiate it from its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo, possesses significant fossil fuel reserves. However, the nation grapples with pervasive poverty and corruption.

A journalist discovered that there is a scarcity of butane gas available for purchase in the capital city of Brazzaville, causing people to endure extended waiting times for supplies.

Juste Gerant Mambouana, aged 25, mentioned that he waited in line from early morning until 4 pm to secure a cylinder of cooking gas.

According to Mambouana, he and his family had resorted to cooking with charcoal for the past three weeks. He also noted that the prices for a bag of charcoal had surged from 5,500 FCFA ($8.95, 8.33 euros) to 7,500 FCFA ($12.2, 11.4 euros).

Carole Mabassi, a 45-year-old resident of Brazzaville, expressed her frustration over the prolonged duration of the shortage.

“It’s hard to believe that in a petrol-producing country, people live like in the jungle,” she said.

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