The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched a 30-block licensing round in Kinshasa, prompting warnings from environmental groups that some of the areas offered overlap with protected areas.

In May, Minister of Hydrocarbons Didier Budimbu advised that 16 blocks would be offered in a bid round to be launched on 28 and 29 July in Kinshasa, but the acreage release was later increased to 30 blocks.

In total, 11 blocks are up for grabs in the Lake Tanganyika rift basin, nine in the interior Cuvette Central basin, three in the country’s coastal basin, four blocks in the oil-rich Albertine graben play and three blocks in the Lake Kivu area.