Addressing investors in Paris today, Total Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie affirmed that the company will not explore for oil within the boundaries of Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Responding to questions posed by conservation group WWF, de Margerie told the annual shareholder meeting that Total is making a "commitment to respect the current limits" of the park, which is Africa's oldest World Heritage Site.
"We welcome Total's clear and comprehensive assurance that no oil exploration or exploitation activities will be conducted by the company within Virunga National Park. We urge British oil exploration company Soco International PLC immediately to stop all activities in the park and to make a similar commitment," said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Conservation at WWF International.
"Virunga National Park has been recognized by UNESCO and the DRC government as a place of outstanding natural value, and we will continue to fight to preserve it for the people that depend on it for their sustainable livelihoods. This is our line in the sand. Oil exploration in Virunga National Park is simply unacceptable," Gustavsson said.