South Sudan woos investors in oil sector

South Sudan woos investors in oil sector
FILE PHOTO: A worker walks by an oil well at the Toma South oil field to Heglig, in Ruweng State, South Sudan August 25, 2018 | REUTERS

The government has pledged to increase oil production in an attempt to lure foreign investors into the sector.

Before the 2013 conflict, the country produced more than 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This was cut down too 170,000 barrels a day.

First Vice President Riek Machar said the government wants to increase oil production by ten-fold if more investors are to come on board.

According to Machar, the issues had already been discussed in the previous council of ministers’ meeting.

“We have a vision that we want to be the economic hub of this part of the world particularly East and Central Africa. We have what it takes to make this country an economic hub.”

“We have the land. “There are many opportunities if you want to invest in the agro-industry—it is there… we should use this oil to power our agricultural potential,” Machar said.

He mentioned electricity and roads as the government’s top priorities in an attempt to realise the vision.

“Since the peace agreement was signed, we now have some kilometres of asphalted roads both going north and east of the Nile river,” he said.

He said the construction of the Juba-Bor road will continue up to Renk and link up with Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Juba-Rumbek road will proceed up to Wau and then connects to Sudan and Central Africa.

“We could not have done this without making use of the oil that God has given us so in a short time now, we are building highways and since the theme of this fifth conference is oil and power, we want to increase our production.”

He said the underground crude oil must be exploited before too late so that the country can develop the necessary infrastructures as the world tries to transition from fossil fuel to cleaner energy.

Machar urged foreign investors fully participate in ongoing  South Sudan’s oil and power conference.

“We are more oriented to increase production so that from the revenue, we build for our infrastructural base and provide the necessary delivery services such as health, education,” Dr. he said.

According to him, investors can make individual investments, participate in public-private partnerships (PPPs) or make joint corporations.

 “We are very keen to see that there is transparency in whatever we want to do. That is why the minister of petroleum talked about the environmental audit, auditing of companies to give confidence to the people.”

The Minister of Petroleum, Puot Kang Chol, attributed the challenges to low-hanging business opportunities that cannot attract any dependable, efficient, and effective investor with a track record of success.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring long-term business continuity for all the existing oil companies including Nilepet, CMPC of China, Petronas of Malaysia, ONGC of India, and the strategic field firm of South Africa.

He said they were willing to collaborate with reputable, successful companies that have good records in the global oil industry.

The conference in Juba attracted investors from Europe, the United States, Asia, and the continent.