The African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Deputy Ministers from South Africa and Zimbabwe reiterated the important role of partnerships in addressing energy poverty and advancing energy security in Africa during the country’s official energy summit, South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) – taking place this week in Juba.
The respective heads of APPO and OPEC emphasized that with South Sudan representing the only major oil producer in East Africa, the country’s 3.5 billion barrels of reserves play a critical role in facilitating energy security, both in the country and across the East African market, and by unlocking capital and collaboration, the country’s standing as the engine of East African growth will be realized.
In his opening address, APPO Secretary General H.E. Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim stated that “Now more than ever, South Sudan needs to attract investments, develop local content in oil and gas technology and expertise, and find lasting markets for its oil and gas.” In this scenario, innovative capital solutions and collaboration are key drivers, and H.E. Dr. Farouk believes that, “the Republic of South Sudan could not find a better place to build international partnerships, attract investment and technology, and improve the performance of the South Sudanese energy sector and the broader East African sector than with APPO.”
OPEC reiterated similar sentiments, with Mhammed Mouraia, Statistical Systems Coordinator, Data Services Department, Research Division at OPEC stating that “South Sudan’s proven reserves are 3.5 billion barrels, offering the opportunity to generate energy security and drive economic growth. To utilize these resources, we recognize the need for stakeholders to work together. OPEC’s contribution in this regard is sustainable oil market stability.”
For South Africa, the country represents a critical partner, and the southern African nation is making strides towards strengthening bilateral relations. The country’s DDG for Mining, Mineral and Energy Policy Development at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Ntokozo Ngcwabe, remarked that South-South collaboration has been key for maximizing resources, and that to address energy poverty, “let us replicate these partnerships across the continent and awaken the great potential that lies beneath our soils. Addressing energy poverty must include the monetization of all our resources, including oil and gas.”
Meanwhile, representing an untapped market in its own right, South Sudanese expertise will be key for helping Zimbabwe unlock the full potential of its resources. The country has kickstarted an exploration campaign of its own, and with the support of South Sudan, the country is well positioned to drive successful upstream campaigns.
Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Magna Mudyiwa remarked that, “Zimbabwe is currently exploring for oil and gas in the northern part of the country,” and that, “As we explore, there is urgency for expertise and technology to support the development of resources. Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from South Sudan who has done a lot of exploration before us. South Sudan is an amazing case study and can offer advice on regulations, structures and law, handling of environmental issues that rise due to oil and gas production, and appropriate technology for optimized oil recovery.”
As such, collaboration will play an important part in maximizing Africa’s oil and gas resources.