Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in India on Sunday, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said the country was planning to increase oil production to 270,000 bpd by the end of 2019.
Planning further ahead, the minister said South Sudan is working to return to its pre-war production levels of 350,000 bpd by the middle of 2020. “We used to produce 350,000 to 400,000 bpd. We expect to go back to those levels by the middle of next year,” he said.
On increasing the country’s current production levels, which sit at 140,000 bpd, he said: “By the end of the year, block 3 and 7 will be hitting 180, 000 bpd, blocks 1,2 and 4 will be producing 70,000 bpd, and block 5A will be producing 20,000 bpd.”
Although South Sudan has one of the largest crude oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, the country is still heavily underexplored with only a third of its reserves having been explored.
As the country makes efforts to recover from civil war and establish itself as a player in the petroleum industry – it has signed a preliminary agreement with Zarubezhneft for the exploration of its oil blocks and is working towards attracting more players into the sector. “We have been approaching Exxon [Mobil] officials, and I will be meeting them in Houston next month,” said the minister.