The Democratic Republic of Congo could offer up to 10 blocks in a new onshore hydrocarbon bid round possibly launched next year, a senior government official said on Thursday.

The commodity-rich central African nation is eager to exploit its central basin's oil and gas potential, although it is unclear how many foreign companies will show appetite given its chequered history in reviewing mining contracts and startling mining companies.

Asked when the government, currently involved in presidential elections, could introduce a new bid round, Joseph Pili-Pili Mawezi, the country's Secretary General of Hydrocarbons, said: It is possible in the next year.

The state intended dividing certain parts of the country into blocks ahead of a possible bidding round, with areas available close to Lake Tanganyika, among others.

Tanganyika mainly and the central basin also. Ten blocks could be up (for grabs), Mawezi said on the sidelines of the African oil conference.

Mawezi said he expected companies from China, a key investor in the country's mining sector, as well as India to show interest.