South Sudan on Tuesday invited investors to show interest in 14 blocks newly discovered blocks.
Petroleum minister Daniel Awow Chuang told about 600 prospective investors during the South Sudan Oil and Power conference in Juba that the blocks would be licensed competitively from next year.
“We have demarcated around 14 blocks. We are inviting all investors to have a look at these blocks,” Mr Chuang said.
He said Juba hopes to establish a data room for the blocks in two months, before licensing them on a competitive basis from early 2020.
The government hopes to interest financiers and new investors in the sector especially those with strong linkages to other segments of the economy.
During the two day conference, the government will front resumption of production at key oilfields following a ceasefire and improving business conditions as attractions to investors.
South Sudan currently produces 175,000 barrels per day, about a third of the potential 500, 000 bpd, despite the sector being largely unexplored.
The Oil & Power conference has become a focal selling point for opportunities in South Sudan which is hoping to put years of war behind it with the formation of a transitional government on November 12.
Last year, South Africa and South Sudan signed agreements that would see the former’s Strategic Fuel Fund invest in the latter through the Nile Petroleum company.
Taban Deng, South Sudan First Vice President, said having petroleum infrastructure such as oil refineries in the region would help alleviate the fuel crises in many countries.
Regional oil trade
Mr Taban Deng Gai said building of refineries would help the region save billions of dollars that countries spend on importing refined petroleum products annually.
“I am aware the volume of Ethiopian imports of refine products is from $5 to $7 billion annually. South Sudan can take part in this by building an oil refinery in Poloch.
I believe also in DRC, CAR, part of Kenya and Uganda. Let’s think critically about this.” Taban Deng
Ethiopian State minister of Petroleum – Koang Tutlam – asked governments to address insecurity as it affected stability and growth of the entire region. Some of South Sudan’s oil wells are located close to Ethiopia’s South Western border.
“With Ethiopia’s population of 100 million and huge demand of hydro-carbon, we can provide one of the best markets for South Sudan oil because of proximity,” said Koang.
Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan – Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka – said progress in intra- African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (|AfCFTA) would spread the benefits of natural resources to the most deserving areas.
“We must invest in regional institutions that support mutual political and economic objectives and hasten regional integration,” said Musyoka.
There were also calls for youth and women to be empowered through training to take part in the oil and gas industry.