South Sudan and Equatorial Guinea have announced a new partnership to advance bilateral relations and boost the oil and gas sectors of the two countries.
The Memorandum of Cooperation, signed Monday by Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima and South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum H.E. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, will focus on exchanging information on developing local content and gas monetization initiatives and projects. It will also promote collaboration on policy and regulation, growing links between national oil companies Nilepet and GEPetrol, and training of South Sudanese personnel.
“We can face the world together as one bloc … [Africa] is so rich, and if we work together as a team we can do a lot together,” said Gatkuoth at a press conference on Monday in Juba.
South Sudan is seeking to attract new explorers to its acreages and more investment in oil and gas. Equatorial Guinea, which maintains output levels at roughly 200,000 barrels per day, plans to soon host a South Sudanese Ministry of Petroleum delegation in Malabo and offer training in oil and gas operations.
“Yes we do produce oil, but we have been very committed to two key things: human resources and local content, and utilization of gas,” said Lima. “Those are the sectors that have an impact on the population.”
The two countries have agreed to coordinate on gas monetization strategies for South Sudan, which has yet to develop the infrastructure to utilize its gas.
“Partnership is what fuels the oil industry,” said Gatkuoth. “South Sudan is proud to share its experiences with Equatorial Guinea, and to learn from the great work of our fellow African producer.”
Equatorial Guinea has worked diligently in recent years to eliminate gas flaring. It now exports LNG; uses gas for power generation; uses CNG to power public transport; and is developing a gas-based downstream sector.
“That gas that is being flared has a monetary value and we do believe that South Sudan and the people of South Sudan can take advantage of that resource that at this moment is being wasted,” said Lima.
At the press conference, Lima called for patience as South Sudan works to develop its oil and gas sector. “The population thinks that if you make a discovery, ‘We are rich. We have oil.’ But it is not there yet, because you need to develop it. So it is very important that everybody remembers that you need to continue with the development, you need to continue with industrialization, you need to continue with agriculture, because the oil money usually takes a long time,” he said.