Total rules out oil exploration in Congo's Virunga national park
BY GERALDINE AMIEL
PARIS -- French company Total reassured stakeholders Friday that it won't explore for oil in Congo's Virunga National Park, home to mountain gorillas and a Unesco World Heritage site.
Chairman and Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said that even if the park area is reduced at a future date the company will not prospect for oil. The park spans 790,000 hectares of unique habitats and is located in the country's north-east lake region bordering Rwanda and Uganda.
Speaking during the group's annual meeting of shareholders, Mr. de Margerie said the group "confirms its commitment to respect the current limits [boundaries of the Virunga National Park]."
Mr. de Margerie was responding to questions from the environmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature which sought reassurances from the French major that it would respect the heritage and conservation site.
Mr. de Margerie added that the company respects the boundaries of all Unesco heritage sites.