Resumption of oil production at South Sudan’s Unity oilfield moved a step closer this week. The Minister of Petroleum of South Sudan met with Petronas representatives in Kuala Lumpur and secured a commitment from the Malaysian national oil company to invest in resuming operations in the area. The Minister of Petroleum Hon. Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and Petronas’ South Sudan Country Chair Mr. Janin Girie also extended the company’s exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) for Blocks 3 and 7 for a period of six years.
“Bringing back production at Unity and other fields, and increasing production overall, are the priorities of this ministry and the Transitional Government of National Unity,” said the Minister of Petroleum. “We are delighted that Petronas has decided to continue investing in South Sudan’s future. This investment in oil production resumption and the extension of Petronas’ EPSA for Blocks 3 and 7 are hugely important for our nation, and signal confidence on the part of operators and international investors.”
Petronas has extended its contract to explore and produce oil and gas in Blocks 3 and 7 as part of the Dar Petroleum Operating Company consortium.
The Malaysian national oil company has committed to invest in the resumption of production at the conflict-hit Unity field.
Minister of Petroleum says agreements signal investor confidence in South Sudan.
The Unity field, among other fields in South Sudan, has been shut down due to conflict since 2013. It is situated in Block 1A and operated by the Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC), a consortium of CNPC (40 percent), Petronas (30 percent), ONGC (25 percent) and national oil company Nilepet (5 percent). The government of South Sudan recently conducted security surveys on the GPOC and Sudd Petroleum Operating Company (SPOC) operating areas. In February the government declared that the areas are now safe for the operators to re-enter. This was verified by a security risk assessment conducted by a private sector contractor, which concluded that the areas are secure for production resumption.
Blocks 3 and 7 are operated by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC), in which Petronas is a 40 percent shareholder. The consortium also includes CNPC (41 percent), Nilepet (8 percent), Sinopec (6 percent) and Tri-Ocean Energy (5 percent). DPOC is the only one of the three major operating consortia in South Sudan that maintained oil production at its fields as conflict made the SPOC and GPOC production areas inaccessible to the operators. DPOC produced 130,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017.