S.Sudan hosts oil conference seeking to boost energy industry

JUBA, Oct. 12 — A two-day oil and power conference kicked off on
Wednesday in Juba, which seeks to boost investment in the energy industry
of the oil-rich east African nation.

The conference is organized by Africa Oil and Power (AOP) in partnership
with the South Sudanese government. The event, which brings together
leading oil companies in South Sudan as well as energy experts from local
and international enterprises, will discuss such topics as investment,
security, logistics, technology, regional integration, and infrastructure
development. In his opening remarks, AOP CEO Guillaume Doane said the
conference would enable South Sudan to showcase its enormous potential in
both energy and infrastructure. “We will be here this week to do what we
can to accelerate progress, to create and foster new opportunities, to
engender optimism and to be sustainable,” said Doane.

South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga said the conference would open
up the landlocked country to new investment opportunities that can drive
development in the energy sector. “South Sudan’s time to shine has come.
Events like this one give us a platform to understand and clearly announce
to the world that South Sudan is emerging as a powerful nation with a
world-class petroleum industry,” Igga said. South Sudan depends on oil
revenue for 98 percent of its budget, but production plummeted due to civil
war that erupted in December 2013. The conflict forced most oilfields in
the country’s oil-rich northern region to shut down, leading to a drop in
production to less than 130,000 barrels per day (bpd), from 350,000 bpd in

Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said South Sudan holds 3.5 billion
barrels of unexploited oil and that 70 percent of country’s oil blocks
remain unexplored. He said the country has opened up investment and
exploration opportunities in Blocks B1, B2, B3 and E2, all located in
northern South Sudan, in a bid to increase production to nearly 300,000
barrels per day (bpd) by next year. “We want to move very quickly to go
back to the production we used to have,” he said. “By the end of this year,
we are targeting 150,000 barrels a day and by next we want to go to 280,000
barrels per day.” Gatkuoth added that the government has embarked on
building four oil refineries that would help curb fuel shortages, encourage
harvesting of natural gas and boost development of the gas industry. “We
are here to attract investors, those who are interested in investing in
South Sudan,” he added. “It is better to start immediately before it is too
late.” – XINHUA