By John Ikani
South Sudan is seeking to ramp up oil output and build refining capacity.
The measure is a part of efforts geared towards reviving an economy that’s suffered from war and a global pandemic.
South Sudan has the third largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, but most of its oil facilities have been destroyed in the civil war that started in 2013 – two years after it seceded from Sudan.
Oil production accounting for nearly all government revenue has plummeted and operators of mature fields in the northern Upper Nile region have stopped investment, Bol Ring Mourwel, managing director of state-owned Nile Petroleum Corp., said in an interview.
“The company plans to increase production in Block 5A in Unity State to between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels a day from current levels at about a 10th of that.
“A feasibility study will also be conducted for a refinery in Paloch to supply regional markets in Ethiopia and Sudan,” said Mourwel.
Every barrel produced is vital to Africa’s youngest nation, as oil provides nearly all of its gross domestic product.
“For us, it is very vital because the economy of the country, 90 percent of it, is based on oil, it can be more,” said Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth, South Sudan’s petroleum minister.
“It’s important for us to produce oil and prices of oil must continue being high because we’re a producer and also a consumer so we need to make sure that we benefit from both stabilities in the market.”