A new peace agreement signed last month between rival factions and a concerted push by the South Sudan Government to regain the confidence of the international investment community has spurred a wave of investor interest in the country. That was the context for the second edition of the South Sudan Oil & Power conference, being held November 20-22 at the Crown Hotel in Juba. The conference, hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Energy and Dams, is the country’s biggest and most premier energy and infrastructure conference.
An over-capacity crowd of nearly 400 delegates descended on South Sudan this week, including government delegations from Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea. South Sudan’s increasing stability is gaining wide attention from its neighbors. Today, the Governments of South Sudan and Sudan signed an agreement to cooperate on capacity building in the oil and gas industry. The Sudan Government was instrumental in supporting South Sudan in the resumption of oil production at Toma South, which had been offline for five years. Oil output levels have risen to 135,000 barrels per day with an aim to achieve oil production of 350,000 barrels per day.
The promise of higher oil production and more drilling activity has already whetted the appetite of many investors already in the country, including state-owned oil companies Petronas, CNPC and ONGC Videsh. The conference also attracted delegations of companies from Turkey, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
“South Sudan is on a run, there is no denying that. You can feel the change in the air and that is thanks to the peace agreement and the enabling investment climate that the Government has implemented,” said Africa Oil & Power CEO, Guillaume Doane. “Even without new exploration the country has the capacity to become the third largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. With a solid peace deal in place, South Sudan is one of Africa’s most exciting and prospective resource plays.”
The Government of South Sudan is keen to increase exploration activity in the country and attract new participants to the market. Last month’s Russia’s Zarubezhneft signed a memorandum of understanding with South Sudan this week to explore four oil blocks. H.E. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the Minister of Petroleum, told conference delegates that South Sudan’s proven oil reserves stand at 3.5 billion barrels but could be as large as 13 billion barrels, according to the Ministry’s technical team.
“We have to think big to be big,” the Minister said. “Drill, drill, drill. That is our message to the investment community because you cannot produce more oil unless you look for more oil. South Sudan has plenty of oil and we now have the enabling environment for companies to find it.
South Sudan Oil & Power 2018 featured keynote speeches from the First Vice President of South Sudan, Taban Deng Gai; H.E. Azhari Abdallah, Minister of Petroleum & Gas of Sudan; Hon. Peter Lokeri, Minister of State for Minerals of Uganda; H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, as well as more than 30 speakers.
South Sudan Oil & Power is commissioned and endorsed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Ministry of Energy and Dams of South Sudan, and is currently on its second day at the Crown Hotel, Juba.