Opening New Frontiers: Key Insights from Exploration Companies Active in South Sudan

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Speaking under the theme ‘The Explorers: Opening New Frontiers’, in the inaugural day of SSOP 2021, featured presentations by Godfrey Moagi, CEO of the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) and George Adesanya, Country Manager for Oranto Petroleum, two exploring companies in Blocks B2 and B3, who provided their valuable insight into current exploration activities in South Sudan.

Excited to be invited back to South Sudan from South Africa, Moagi expressed his optimism for the future of South Sudan in the presence of ministers, technicians, engineers, and experts who participated in the conference for the collective purpose of unlocking the country’s exploration frontiers, saying, “I’m standing here as a partner, not only to Nilepet, but also for the people of South Sudan.” The SFF signed Block B for exploration and production in 2019 and despite the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company insists on its commitment and dedication to achieving its plans to invest in the country’s oil and gas exploration sector.   

Moagi announced the company’s investment in the construction of a refinery capable of producing 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and is looking at building a pipeline capable of integrating South Sudan’s crude oil production into the international market. The tenders for the refinery and pipeline have gone out, which has drawn interest from companies in South Sudan, with hopes that they will be evaluated and opened soon, with Moagi stating that the “SFF is ready to move, and we are ready to invest.” 

Highlighting the importance of collaborating for the betterment of Africa, the SFF indicated its steadfast commitment to South Sudan by adhering to and implementing the African Union’s Agenda 2063, an agenda that encapsulates the continent’s aspirations for a brighter future. Moagi noted that the first step to achieving this goal is by working towards inclusive growth and sustainable development. Moagi indicated the SFF’s commitment to the development of South Sudan, “As Africans we need to make sure that the South Sudanese will benefit from their oil, [that it is] beneficiated here, is used here, and is exported into the region […] and that is how we build the Africa we want.” 

Emphasizing the need for human capital, it was noted during the presentation that scientists and engineers are being trained in South Africa at SFF facilities, highlighting the importance of the future of Africa by training its future leaders.  

The presentation given by the SFF was followed by pan-African oil and gas exploration company, Oranto Petroleum, and its Country Manager, George Adesanya’s address regarding its promise to transform crude resources into value-added growth while emphasizing the importance of environmental and communal preservation.  

Expressing his excitement and optimism to participate with the industry, which was able to gather for the first time in two years, Adesanya discussed Otranto’s vision for moving forward, “Today South Sudan and the continent at large presents critical investments with opportunities in terms of renewables, infrastructures, power generation and the technology sector, which promises to transform crude resources into sustainable, diversified and value-added growth.” 

Providing insight into its success in Africa and the future of its campaign, Adesanya elaborated on Oranto’s commitments to the development of oil and gas exploration in South Sudan’s Block 3 following its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report in May this year and an aeromagnetic survey conducted in 2018 by BGP Inc. “As Africa’s largest indigenous explorer, Oranto Petroleum is committed to proudly exploring Africa, and has been for three decades. For Oranto Petroleum, South Sudan has been the bedrock of frontier exploration. With 3.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and yet 90% of its acreage is unexplored. South Sudan is one of the final oil and gas frontiers on the continent. With exploration returning to the forefront of our activities in 2021, we are now in the process of planning the drilling campaign, in partnership with Nilepet and the Ministry of Petroleum.” stated Adesanya.  

Adesanya concluded his presentation by iterating Oranto’s commitment to prioritizing sustainable investments, safeguarding the environment, and putting community development at the forefront of operations and remarking on the necessity for industry leaders and ministers to commit to their ventures to help develop the African continent.  

The fourth session of the SSOP 2021 was concluded with an impromptu presentation by the Director General of the Sudanese National Petroleum Corporation (Sudapet), who accentuated the need for collaboration in the exploration and development of South Sudan’s oil potential. The Director General began by identifying and lauding the cooperation between Sudapet and Nilepet and their joint ventures as minority stakeholders in each of the operating oil-producing blocks. In the Rawat Central Field of South Sudan, it was pointed out by the Director General that Sudapet currently operates and owns 100% of the shares in Block 25, highlighting the company’s successful performance as the sole operator of a block.  

He went on to indicate that, in addition to oil concessions, Sudapet has subsidiaries including seismic acquisition and processing operators and that the goal for the company is to establish seismic acquisition activities for, not only South Sudan, but for neighboring countries as well.  

“We have experienced people, we have the infrastructure, we have data, so jointly together we can achieve these developments and studies that can enhance and develop our oil fields to increase our production.” 

The Director General closed his presentation by lauding the Ministry of Petroleum and the willingness of participants attending the SSOP 2021 Seminar to cooperate on the development of the petroleum industry in South Sudan.  

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.

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