S. Sudan to hold oil conference in October

by Julius Gale

JUBA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan will host its first-ever oil and power conference in October in a drive to develop its energy industry, organizers said on Thursday.

The Africa Oil and Power (AOP) which is organizing the event in partnership with the South Sudanese government said the Oct. 11-12 conference to be held in Juba will examine topics including security, logistics, technology and investment.

It will also explore local content, supporting infrastructure such as roads and telecoms, gas monetization and power investment, with a focus on regional integration.

The conference will bring on board major petroleum companies in the country including the state oil firm Nilepet, Dar Petroleum Operating Company, Greater Pioneer Operating Company and Sudd Petroleum Operating Company, as well as locally based private enterprises.

"This is an historic event for South Sudan, a country that is demonstrating its commitment to peace and stability and where oil and gas are the bedrock of the economy," AOP CEO Guillaume Doane said in statement.

Oil-rich South Sudan depends on oil revenue for 98 percent of its budget, but production reduced significantly due to civil war that erupted in December 2013.

The conflict forced most oilfields in the country's oil-rich northern region to shut down, leading to a drop in production to less than 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 350,000 bpd in 2011.

South Sudan said last month it had invited more oil companies to invest in exploration, production and distribution in order to double the country's daily output in 2018.

Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said 70 percent of South Sudan's oil blocks remain unexplored, as such the East African nation has embarked on negotiating new exploration and production agreements with several companies in a bid to meet the target.

Commenting about the upcoming conference, Gatkuoth said the conference would offer an outstanding opportunity for South Sudan to showcase its incredible potential in both energy and infrastructure.

"We welcome any and all visitors to discover the wealth of natural resources we have and the accommodating investment environment being created by our people," Gatkuoth said.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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