Three North American players have landed licences to extract methane from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s sector of Lake Kivu after a fierce bidding war, with the Kinshasa government expecting some $2 billion to be spent to develop this unusual resource.

The DR Congo shares Lake Kivu with Rwanda and is clearly banking on repeating the success of its neighbour, which has been exploiting the huge quantities of methane held within its waters for a decade or so.

Last July, Kinshasa’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons included three blocks in Lake Kivu as part of its first licensing round.