Russia’s Gazprom Neft signs exploration deal with South Sudan

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South Sudan’s petroleum minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said Russia’s Gazprom Neft has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Sudan to explore four oil blocks.

Gatkuoth told Reuters the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom was awaiting more information on the blocks from the Petroleum Ministry before starting exploration. Other foreign oil and gas firms operating in South Sudan’s oil industry include China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC Videsh).

According to Gatkuoth, South Sudan’s oil production has risen from 130,000 bpd in August 2018 to 135,000 barrels per day (bpd).

He said the country is hoping to push production back up to 350,000 bpd, which is the level achieved in 2011 when the country secured independence from Sudan and before it slid into civil conflict.

In September 2018, President Salva Kiir and rebels led by his former deputy Riek Machar signed a peace deal.

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