In a speech delivered by the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, President Salva Kiir said that the country will increase oil production.
Taban Deng was opening the second Oil and Power Conference on behalf of the President on Tuesday in Juba. The three-day conference is focused on attracting international investors and service companies into the country’s oil industry.
The theme for the conference “Embracing the Private Sector” follows the successful resumption of oil production by the Greater Pioneer Operating Company this year and the introduction of new international companies into the market.
President Kiir said the peace Agreement signed in September was a historic event which put the country on a new path of prosperity and that “The government will continue to invite investment in the petroleum sector.”
The country currently produces 130,000 barrels per day yet it targets to produce up to 280,000 barrels per day of its proven oil reserve of more than 3.5 billion barrels.
“We are keen to raise oil production through international investments and the growth of our domestic sectors. The Oil and Gas sector is the foundation of our economy making up majority of our country’s GDP and government budget,” he said.
“The government will continue to work tirelessly to create an enabling environment for business to thrive in the Republic of South Sudan including a fair and balanced local content regulation. The development of oil and gas sector will encourage economic diversification,” President Kiir said in the speech.
South Sudan signed new deals with Russia-based JSC Zarubezhneft early this year allowing the Russian company to begin exploring the country’s open acreage and opportunities in trading.
Earlier this year operating consortia investors CNPC and Petronas affirmed their commitment to improving and increasing oil production in South Sudan after re-signing their production agreements with the government.
Nigeria-based Oranto Petroleum also began exploring for oil and gas in Block B3 in November 2017.
President Kiir noted the country severely lacks infrastructure ranging from road to pipeline and power capacity, “but developing the oil and gas sector will enable investment in infrastructure to move forward.
The First Vice President Taban Deng Gai said that the oil experts should not forget about environmental protection during their discussions.
“Let us be reminded of our responsibilities in the areas of social contract. The oil in South Sudan majority of it is based in the wetlands where we have faced a lot of issues of pollution. I hope in such kinds of forums when we discuss how to enhance productivity, issues of environment should not be left behind,” the first vice president said.
Meanwhile Minister of Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said South Sudan is very rich in oil, adding that they will continue to market South Sudan worldwide.
“South Sudan is very rich and we can even rival some countries in the world like Saudi Arabia or Russia or the United States because they are the big producers of oil,” Lol said.
Speaking at the same event, the Sudanese Minister of Petroleum and Gas, Azhari Abdallah said international companies to invest in the oil industry, saying “by investing in petroleum and gas in South Sudan, the future will be brighter for the country.”
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