South Sudan seeks to boost oil exploration after the east African country discovered new oil well in the northern parts of the country since gaining independence from Sudan eight years ago.
Petroleum minister Awow Daniel Chuang said the discovery of the new oil well in Adar oilfields, in the northern parts of the country, proves that the country has enormous amounts of unexploited hydrocarbons.
“We want to go to the next level of exploration because we have not been fully engaged in exploration in the last few years probably because of instability,” Chuang said. “With peace coming now, we will be able to move forward and do more exploration.”
Conflict-torn South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, estimated at 3.5 billion barrels and much of the reserves being unexplored.
The new oil well projected to be worth 5.3 million barrels was discovered by Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DOPC), a consortium of several firms that include China National Petroleum Corporation, Malaysia’s Petronas, Nilepet, Sinopec and India’s Tri-Ocean Energy.
According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for around 60 percent of its gross domestic product.
But after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production declined from 350,000 in 2011 to less than 130,000 barrels per day in 2014 amid soaring inflation.
Following the signing of a new peace deal in September 2018, conflict reduced and previously closed oilfields have reopened, and the landlocked country is hoping to raise daily output to over 200,000 barrels per day by the end of 2019.
Chuang said the government would scale up efforts of oil search in other parts of the country in bid to increase the country’s production levels.
“This is the beginning of an era in our oil exploration activities because the geology of South Sudan has a lot of oil,” Chuang said.
“Any addition, whether it is big or small, we will have a slight improvement in our oil production,” he added.