Supply Shortfall: Republic of Congo Grapples with Butane Gas Scarcity

Charcoal Takes Over Amid Butane Gas Shortage in Republic of Congo

Consumers in the Republic of Congo find themselves in a challenging situation as they are forced to switch to charcoal for cooking due to a severe shortage of butane gas in the central African nation.

This scarcity has persisted for over three weeks and has significant implications for daily life in the region.

The Cause: Maintenance Issue at Nkossa Oil-and-Gas Field

The primary cause behind this gas shortage is a maintenance problem at the offshore Nkossa oil-and-gas field, as explained by an official from the Congolese hydrocarbons ministry.

To address this supply issue, the nation has resorted to importing the necessary gas products.

A Nation Rich in Resources Struggles with Poverty and Graft

The Republic of Congo, often referred to as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, possesses substantial fossil-fuel reserves.

However, it grapples with the harsh realities of widespread poverty and corruption despite its oil and gas wealth.

Long Queues and Rising Charcoal Prices

The impact of this gas shortage is keenly felt in the capital city, Brazzaville, where butane gas is in short supply.

Residents endure long waits, with some spending hours in queues just to secure a cylinder of cooking gas.

In the absence of gas, many have turned to cooking with charcoal, a practice they have had to rely on for three weeks and counting.

This shift has led to increased charcoal prices, with the cost per bag rising significantly.

Frustration Among Residents

As the gas shortage continues, frustration mounts among the residents of Brazzaville.

Carole Mabassi, a 45-year-old resident, expressed her despair at the prolonged shortage, emphasizing the irony of living in a country abundant in petroleum resources while facing such difficulties.

She likened the situation to living in primitive conditions, remarking, “It’s hard to believe that in a petrol-producing country, people live like in the jungle.”

In conclusion, the Republic of Congo’s struggle with the butane gas shortage has compelled its residents to adapt by using charcoal for cooking.

This unexpected shift underscores the challenges faced by a nation with significant energy resources yet plagued by poverty and infrastructure issues.