The fourth edition of South Sudan Oil & Power officially kicked off on Wednesday with keynote addresses by domestic and international Ministers addressing challenges and growth opportunities in South Sudan at one of the first large-scale events to be held on the continent since COVID-19.
Driving foreign investment into all sectors of the country’s economy was a key theme during the opening session, with domestic and foreign ministers highlighting economic growth opportunities and sustainable development through a variety of underexplored industries, despite global challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the conference on Tuesday, Hon. Puot Kang Chol, Petroleum Minister, South Sudan highlighted the global challenges currently faced by the petroleum industry, whereby goods and the provision of services have become expensive and restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these challenges, he lauded the country’s efforts in moving its oil and gas industry forward with the resumption of oil and gas activities in Block 5A, which is operated by Sudd Petroleum Operating Company.
The Block will produce more than 8,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2021, 16,000 bpd by mid-2022; 30,000 bpd by 2025 – and is expected to reach a peak of 45,000 bpd in 2028 once four field development projects have been completed.
He also emphasized South Sudan’s commitment to developing local content within its energy sector, stating that “the government of South Sudan has recently passed the Petroleum Local Content Regulation, which is a guide to the provision of locally based services and products in accordance to the law, which are guides to help bolster and cement the working relationship between the government, investors, employees and all other stakeholders in the country’s petroleum value chain,” he said.
Also speaking at the conference on Tuesday, Hon. Benjamin Marial, Minister of the Office of the President encouraged investors to look beyond the country’s oil and gas sector for investment opportunities.
“I encourage investors to think about opportunities in all sectors of our economy while thinking about opportunities in oil and gas,” he said, pointing out that South Sudan has an abundance of over 22 mineral resources including gold, diamonds, tin and copper.
“With the government securing stability, we encourage investors to develop things like gold, tin and copper. We also have tremendous agricultural land which investors should think about exploring,” he said.
He pointed out that South Sudan also had an abundance of wildlife and that there were vast opportunities for the wildlife industry to take off in the country. “We need investment in our wildlife sector to encourage tourism into the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hon. Gen. James Hoth Mai, South Sudan Minister of Labor, stated that SSOP 2021 was a milestone for investment into the country.
“This conference sends a message that South Sudan is open for business and is moving towards investment and the implementation of various agreements to attract foreign direct investment.”
Hon. Dhieu Mathok Diing, South Sudan Minister of investment further underlined the numerous investment opportunities throughout the country, especially with South Sudan’s regional neighbors.
“We have a lot of renewable resource opportunities such as solar and hydropower and mineral resources including gold, diamonds, limestone, iron, copper and zinc. All of these opportunities can be explored with regional and international stakeholders at this conference; where we come together and share information to help develop our resources, while addressing challenges facing us as a country and as a business community,” he noted.
Furthermore, Hon. Abdirashid Mohamed, Minister of Petroleum and Resources, Somalia said: “It is my sincere hope that this marks the start of a new chapter in a mutual relationship in exploiting our natural resources. South Sudan, as the youngest country in the world, has done a remarkable job in exploiting its resources. I am amazed with how far you have come, and it is something you should be proud of.”
Echoing this sentiment, Hon. Minister energy and oil from Sudan highlighted that South Sudan was striving to develop its oil industry for the benefit of its citizens.
“This is an extremely important conference. I want to congratulate the South Sudanese for the recent resumption of Block 5A. This new breakthrough in oil production comes at a critical time where SS is exerting all of its efforts to embark on big development projects, despite the fact the work d is recovering from COVID 19. Investment in hydrocarbons, power generation and technology is paving way for socioeconomic development in South Sudan.
South Sudan Oil & Power continues on June 29-30 under the theme #BuildtheNation: Capital raising and innovative financing to build critical energy and infrastructure projects.