Hon. Dr Riek Machar, First Vice-President of South Sudan, has officially opened the first day of the South Sudan Oil & Power 2022 conference and exhibition, together with opening keynote addresses delivered by Hon. Puot Kang Chol, Minister of Petroleum, Republic of South Sudan; Hon. Martin Gama Abucha, Minister of Mining, South Sudan; H.E. Yonis Ali Guedi, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Djibouti; NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and Hon. Advocate Sandile Nogxina, Special Advisor to South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister.
H.E. Terje Aasland, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Norway and H.E. Ihsan Abdul Jabber, Minister of Oil, Iraq; and Hon. Dhieu Mothok Diing Wol, Minister of Investment, South Sudan also delivered opening keynote addresses.
“We have a vision to become the economic hub of this part of the world, particularly east and central Africa. This is a land of abundance. We have what it takes to make this country an economic hub. We call upon you to come and invest. We are more oriented to increase production so that from the revenue, we can build our infrastructural base and provide the necessary delivering services such as health, education and clean water,” stated H.E. Dr. Machar.
As the only major oil producing nation in East Africa, South Sudan is of strategic importance to the entire region and is well positioned to trigger new investments and long-term developments across the energy value chain.
“We are looking for investors to come to South Sudan and to connect with our national and local companies. The Ministry of Petroleum, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, has launched a competitive tender for the commencement of environmental audits across the industry. This will help the country review, improve and strengthen environmental laws. On transparency and accountability, the Ministry continues to report on daily production and the marketing of petroleum products. We are also currently being audited as we are also under the law and must be audited by those who are mandated to do so,” stated Hon. Chol.
As regional markets look at kickstarting exploration campaigns in pursuit of energy security, the energy transition calls for the adoption of new technologies, and demand increases across the region, South Sudan represents the gateway for doing business in East Africa.
“It is definitely the time that we need investment. Energy is what we want today. The transition from fossil fuel to green and clean energy is a demand of the world today. Without this transition, we will not be able to improve our livelihoods. But most importantly, a just transition is what we need today. South Sudan has the potential to export not just to Africa but the world. Particularly the mining sector, we have many minerals. We will be the engine for the transition,” stated Hon. Abucha.
In 2022, South Sudan has been and continue to prioritize energy partnerships with the aim of enhancing exploration and production. Countries such as South Africa and China, present in South Sudan for a number of years, are looking at improving their footprint across the high potential market.
“We have identified South Sudan as one of our strategic partners and are leveraging our production sharing agreement. We will soon commence with the Aero magnetic surveys. This is not an isolated exploration project but an integrated one with the opportunities to create a pipeline to export the resources and create refineries to process those resources. Is it our belief that these efforts will significantly contribute to both countries’ energy sufficiency,” stated Hon. Advocate Nogxina.
“Djibouti is not the biggest country in terms of producing oil or gas. Therefore, the gateway of east Africa will be here in Juba. They will be able to produce and export oil and gas to us and the world,” stated H.E. Guedi.
As South Sudan Oil & Power 2022 kicks off, and a series of market-focused panel discussions explore key topics and trends across the East African energy industry, a new era of regional investment and development is in sight.
“South Sudan and the industry are at a cross roads with global forces and industry forces and for citizens asking for improved local content. Oil and gas resources can be used to profit the nation. We are at a cross roads five years later when we are looking at licensing rounds, because it is still the most undeveloped and underexplored region; and at a cross roads when we ask how do we increase production, improve local content,” stated Ayuk, adding that, “We have got to be better. We have to change how it is. It is important that we start tapping into untapped reserves, not just oil but young people.”
Delivering a video address, H.E. Aasland stated that “The distance between SS and Norway may be long, however we have much in common such as rich energy resources. Europe and Africa have been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the war in Ukraine. The IEA outlook clearly shows us that a large part of Africa has been left out of the energy transition while 600 million people lack access to electricity. As policymakers, our most important task is to ensure energy security and how we can make the sector more robust for an ever-changing world.”
Adding to this, H.E. Jabber stated that, “To get out of current complications and to secure one of the most important goals of sustainable development, we need to prioritize energy security. Today, when prices begin to soar, it seems to be the time to move fast and fair in the direction of a stable and sustainable energy. Demand is projected to grow by 50% by 2040 which means it is imperative that energy is affordable even in a complex and dynamic environment. “
“The investors coming to South Sudan want to know whether there is a conducive environment for investment or not. As Minister of Investment, I can confirm that it is. We have signed the peace agreement and have implemented and negotiated it, and now we are peaceful. South Sudan is not the only country blessed with resources. This is why we try to be competitive, making establishment plans based on legal frameworks to ensure competitive laws and regulations that will protect investors,” stated Hon. Wol.