Dr. Jacob Dut Chol, Director of Planning for Nilepet; H.E. Puot Kang Chol, Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan; Ian Cloke, COO and Co-Founder of Afentra Plc ; Kgothatso Maloba from the Strategic Fuel Fund and Robert Mdeza, CEO for Trinity Energy.
The final day of African Energy Week 2021’s conference and exhibition featured a spotlight on South Sudan – sponsored by Trinity Energy – and the critical and lucrative role that the international community can play in building the nation through its energy industry. Featuring delegates from Trinity Energy, the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), Nilepet, AFENTRA, and ASAFO & CO, as well as South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, H.E. Puot Kang Chol, the panel discussion, provided insight into some of the ongoing infrastructure projects in the country, a short- and long-term outlook regarding its infrastructural sector, and regulatory amendments to increase security in key energy projects across the country.
“The best destination for any investor in the world, is South Sudan, because we are the world’s youngest nation,” H.E. Chol stated. “Our whole economy depends on oil and when you talk about energy, you are talking about energy as a foundation for peace in our country, which serves as a catalyst for economic growth in South Sudan.”
Moderated by Bloomberg Journalist, Paul Bukhardt, key points of the panel discussion involved insight into strategies that can be implemented to attract further international investment in upcoming infrastructure projects, financing mechanisms best suited for the country, and policies being primed for South Sudanese projects.
Attracting further investment and the development of tax and legal frameworks were addressed, with public and private sector cooperation being noted as integral to building South Sudan’s energy industry.
“Once we have determined that the project makes sense in terms of positive returns, we commit to that project,” stated Robert Mdeza, CEO for Trinity Energy, adding that, “As a private sector, each project must make sense for us, then it will make sense for the bank, then it will make sense for investors.”
Stressing collaboration, Mdeza said, “There is a market for power in South Sudan.”
Dr. Jacob Dut Chol, Director of Planning for Nilepet, added that, “In South Sudan today, we have to look at how best to promote our finances in terms of how we make more resources from the downstream in order to invest more in mid- and upstream.”
With South Sudan’s upcoming licensing round expected to drive exploration and production, the role that energy companies play in ensuring the growth of the country’s economy took center stage during the discussion. The interaction of oil companies amongst communities, the contribution of oil and gas to the country’s society and economy, expansion of the industry, and encouraging local participation and job creation were key highlights touched upon by the speakers.
“Fortunately, South Sudan is traveling a journey that South Africa has traversed over the past 27 years,” stated Kgothatso Maloba from the Strategic Fuel Fund, who also noted, with regards to the country’s investment environment, “There needs to be a perceptive change in those investing in South Sudan.”