South Sudan set to launch oil sector licensing round by 2020
South Sudan's petroleum minister on Tuesday announced a raft of energy plans seeking to improve the world's youngest oil sector industry in a bid to jump-start economic recovery after more than five years of conflict.
Daniel Awow Chuang, South Sudan's oil minister, said the government is planning to launch the country's first oil and gas bidding round within the first quarter of 2020, but noted that the environmental audit will be done in November.
"This year we have a lot of plans for us to launch the licensing round by the first quarter of 2020, and for us to invest in those areas as the government is key for us to get the information," Awow said during third oil and power conference in Juba.
He revealed that the current data collection which is done by the ministry of petroleum provides a platform for investors to invest in the oil sector, adding that it will add more value to the country's national resources.
"In November, we are going to launch an environmental audit and there are a lot of companies that are interested to invest in this area, this will be an opened tender," Awow said.
In August, South Sudan made a new oil discovery in the Adar oil field in Block 3, containing more than 37 million barrels of recoverable oil. The discovery was announced by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium led by China National Petroleum Cooperation.
Awow observed that the discovery will increase the appetite of international oil investors to enter the country's oil and gas sector, noting that Block 5A, which is located in the Muglad-Sudd Rift Basin on the same geological trend as the Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan will resumption early November.
He said the Block 5A has a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the higher quality Nile blend, noting that the potential resumption of Block 5A comes at a time when the young nation is about to achieve a durable peace as parties gather steam to establish a new unity government on Nov. 12.
"The number of blocks that we used to say was eight, but we have added more due to more discoveries in the areas we have never demarcated before. All those blocks will be opened for tending, and that is why we are planning to launch the licensing round in a bid by next year," he said.
"As of now we have a lot of investors that are ready to apply, including the companies from the West, America, Russia, India, and China that have shown interest, but of course we can't negotiate with them until the right time come," he added.
Awow revealed that the new discovery in Block 5A and in the Adar oil field will become a game changer as it is the first discovery made since independence, giving hope to investors interested in South Sudan's energy sector. (Xinhua)