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Chol Deng Thon Abel, Managing Director of South Sudan's Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited (NILEPET) speaking to journalists in Juba.

Government to offer 14 new oil blocks to investors

The transitional unity government revealed Wednesday that it has 14 new oil blocks to offer investors in a bid to increase production to pre-war levels of 350,000 barrels a day.

Chol Deng Thon Abel, Managing Director of South Sudan’s state-owned oil consortium Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited (NILEPET) told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan during the closure of the fifth annual oil and power conference.

“We have 14 oil blocks that are not taken, and we invite international companies that are here to seize the opportunity to apply for these blocks. South Sudan is actually very busy now days attracting international companies to come and invest in the oil industry and this conference is very good platform to exchange ideas with international companies,” Thon said.

The government has already offered block B2 in Jonglei to South Africa state-owned Strategic Fuel Fund (SSF) and block B3 to Nigerian company Oranto.

“They (SSF) will soon start air-borne magnetic survey, after which they will go to seismic survey and later on geo-technic investigation and eventually production,” Thon said.

 He disclosed that operations in block B2 were disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic.

Thon said that SSF will embark on air-borne magnetic and seismic survey starting September till December.

South Sudan is currently producing 175,000 barrels a day in block 1, 2 and 4 and blocks 3 and 7 and block 5A in Unity state.

Block 3 and 7 is a producing conventional oil field operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company a consortium owned by Malaysian Petroliam Nasional, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical, Nile Petroleum and MOG Energy.

“We have a lot of countries now saying that we actually need to increase production, because there is a huge need for crude because you have the sanctions on Iran, Venezuela and of recent Russia and this is where South Sudan is positioning itself to do production enhancement,” Thon said.

NILEPET is among 15 entities sanctioned in 2018 by the U.S state department on allegations of funding the conflict that broke out in December 2013.

However, Thon disclosed plans by NILEPET to take over block 3 and 7 by 2027. He said the consortium would be operated by NILEPET, South Sudan’s ministry of energy and petroleum and South Sudan national petroleum commission.

“The current Exploration Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) especially in block 3 and 7 will actually come to an end, and so we are actually approaching financial entities to step in, and also companies with new technologies which can come and help us realize the vision 2027 when NILEPET becomes an operator,” Thon said.

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