South Sudan government postpones opening new oil exploration blocks amid Covid-19
Plans by the Republic of South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum to launch a new licensing round earlier this year have been derailed.
Hon. Eng. Awow Daniel Chuang, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Petroleum says, “Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced us to postpone the launch. Hopefully we can possibly launch the licensing round early next year. The pandemic has caused the delay as no-one would have been interested in the launch if we had continued with it.”
The licensing round aims to attract diverse foreign investors to the oil sector. Currently there are investors from China and Malaysia, and South Sudan is now hoping to encourage more investment from the West. Many multinational companies left the country when the conflict broke out. The Ministry is now hoping to encourage those corporations to return.
In an effort to make the oil sector more attractive to investors, the Ministry of Petroleum has been busy acquiring new data through aerial surveys and seismic mapping, while construction of a new data centre in Juba is well underway. The plan is to survey oil resources and mineral resource deposits.
Hon. Chuang explains, “The geology of South Sudan‘s unexplored reserves is very promising, providing what we believe is an even bigger opportunity. Major oil discoveries have been made in the past in South Sudan, and there is now an opportunity for more expansion in the oil sector. That is why we are planning the new licensing round, as well as a major geological survey, in order to quantify the country’s resources. This will allow investors to make decisions based on knowledge, making them confident in their investment.”
Hon. Chuang is hopeful that expanded oil exploration, together will the country’s newly- found political stability, will help accelerate South Sudan’s economic recovery.