South Sudan is putting up 14 oil blocks for sale in a bid to increase production to pre-war levels of 350,000 barrels a day.
Chol Deng Thon Abel, the Managing Director of state-owned oil consortium, the Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited (Nilepet), told journalists in the capital Juba on Wednesday that interest in its nascent petroleum industry has been growing.
Much of South Sudan’s oil and gas blocks are yet to be fully explored and resources assessed, stalled by conflict.
“We have 14 oil blocks that have not been taken, and we invite international companies that are here to seize the opportunity to apply for these blocks. South Sudan is actually very busy nowadays attracting international companies to come and invest in the oil industry, and this conference is a very good platform to exchange ideas with international companies,” Mr Abel said at the end of the 5th annual oil and power forum.
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South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, estimated at 3.5 billion barrels, with only about 30 percent of the country explored.
The country currently produces 175,000 barrels a day, about a third of the potential 500,000 bpd, in blocks 1, 2 and 4 and blocks 3 and 7, and block 5A in Unity state.
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“We have a lot of countries now saying that we need to increase production because there is a huge need for crude because you have the sanctions on Iran, Venezuela and recent Russia and this is where South Sudan is positioning itself to increase production,” Mr Abel said.
Nilepet plans to take over blocks 3 and 7 by 2027, he disclosed, when the exploration production sharing agreement expires.
Blocks 3 and 7 are operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium owned by Malaysian Petroliam Nasional, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical, Nile Petroleum and MOG Energy.