South Sudan said Tuesday it plans to offer 14 new oil blocks for exploration during the upcoming licensing round to shore up oil production after a recent decline from 170,000 barrels a day to now 165,000 BPD.
Awow Daniel Chuang, Minister of Petroleum, said oil production had dropped from 130,000 barrels a day to the current 115,000 BPD in Dar block operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium of several firms.
“The challenge that we are facing in oil production is actually related to geological challenges because of the oil fields, we are producing more water than oil. We want to go the technical way to get the right technologies that we can deploy for us to track more oil,” Chuang said.
He also revealed that it remains extremely hard for production to return to the pre-war level of about 300,000 prior to the outbreak of the more than seven years of conflict.
“It is not easy for us to go back to the previous 300,000 BPD, we cannot do that because of the geological challenges and at the same time, we understand there is national decline because the oil reserves are limited,” said Chuang.
He disclosed that recent flooding in the oil-producing Upper Nile region has affected production in the oil fields.
“When the oil fields are flooded they will be covered with water and we cannot produce because we cannot access the oil wells,” said Chuang.
The minister also disclosed that improved relations with its neighbor Sudan have helped improve transportation of crude through Port Sudan.