South Sudan inherited 75 per cent of proven oil reserves from Sudan at the time of independence in 2011, making it the third largest oil reserve in sub-Saharan Africa
Until date, the newest country on the world map has an estimated reserve of 5.1bn barrels of oil and proven reserve of 1.14bn barrels of oil, in addition to three trillion cu/f of natural gas. However, only 30 per cent of the resources have been exploited to date. South Sudan is now looking to attract foreign direct investments across various industries to develop its oil and gas sector and to build the first refinery in the country.
With this agenda in hand, last week, the South Sudan Investment Roadshow was hosted in Dubai with many South Sudanese ministers and delegates in attendance including Deng Deng Nhial, South Sudan Ambassador to the UAE.
Addressing businessmen and media at The Address Boulevard Hotel about the favourable business environment that the country can offer to investors, the Ambassador spoke about the ease of doing business, pro-business leadership and regulations (including duty exemptions and concessions for imports), labour pool with native English skills and the strategic location in East Africa.
Providing details on the oil and gas sector and the scope of opportunities the sector could provide, Caesar Oliha Marko, chairman, National Petroleum & Gas Commission, said that eight new blocks are awaiting exploration opportunities in the country namely B1 & B2 in Malut Basin and 5B, A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, E1 & E2 in Muglad Basin.
“The government is targeting 200,000 bpd of oil by end of this year and up to 350,000 bpd by 2020. We are looking at the right technology to optimise our assets. With new projects in the pipeline, the investors can find a lot of opportunities here.”
Marko added that the government wants to attract investors to develop refineries with different capacities to meet local and regional demands, build storage facilities and construct additional pipelines to handle exports.
South Sudan’s National Oil Company (Nilepet) managing director Dr Chol spoke more about identifying and managing risks in South Sudan. He stressed in length on Nilepet’s operations and goals that include robust joint ventures for finance and ICT services as well as R&D programmes.
With the government pushing for private partnerships and incentives, South Sudan is rapidly developing content for local and international investors, along with aiming to put attractive regulatory frameworks in place, the country is looking to build its economy.