Recent pledges of $2 billion in investment for South Sudan’s oil may be just the start, with the war-torn nation expecting further agreements in early 2019, its petroleum minister said.
Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth’s prediction comes as the African nation’s warring sides prepare to form a power-sharing government in the latest bid to end five years of conflict. The country, home to sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude reserves, is banking on the restoration of production facilities and increased output to fund an administration that’s expanding to include top rebel officials.
Last month, a South African government fund pledged to invest $1 billion in oil exploration and the building of a refinery. Petroliam Nasional Bhd of Malaysia has promised to put a further $300 million into its operations, while Oranto Petroleum International Ltd. of Nigeria has wagered $500 million on developing an oil block, and local firm Trinity Energy has pledged $350 million. Gatkuoth said Russian, Spanish and Emirati companies may soon join them.
“I would say early next year we would be having exploration, production and sharing agreements signed to have new players in the oil industry,” he said in an interview in the capital, Juba. “The narrative has changed from South Sudan being in war” to “South Sudan is coming back again.”
Source: World Oil