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Qatar, South Sudan to boost oil, gas cooperation

South Sudan's Minister of Petroleum Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth speaks during a Reuters interview in his office in Juba, South Sudan, October 10, 2017.
March 25, 2019 (JUBA) - Qatar has expressed readiness to closely cooperate with South Sudan in the development of oil and gas fields, said Minister of Petroleum Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, on Monday.

Gatkuoth met with his counterpart His Excellency Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs in his office in Doha, according to a statement released in Juba by the oil ministry.

The visiting minister discussed with Al-Kaabi exploration of new blocks, enhancement of oil recovery production, capacity building program for South Sudanese engineers and general cooperation in the field of oil and gas sector.

For his part, Al-Kaabi "stressed his firm commitment to close cooperation in the field of oil and gas between the two sisterly countries and Qatar’s readiness to look into the available opportunities in South Sudan and invest in the upstream facilities".

South Sudan seeks to increase the capacity of its 10,000-bpd refinery. On 23 November 2018, Gatkuoth signed a one-billion-dollar agreement to develop oil industry in his country with South Africa’s energy minister, Jeff Radabe.

The deal includes the construction of a refinery, a new pipeline and oil exploration as well as training of workers and engineers.

South Sudan officials say only 12% of the country oil’s reserves are explored. Also, they are working to create alternative routes for the transportation of crude oil to the international market, at least for the oil that will be discovered in the southern part of the country.

Currently, South Sudan produces 180,000 bpd. The oil ministry projects to boost oil production to 270,000 bpd. We are working to hit the peak oil output of 350,000 bpd, which we had clocked once.”

Minister Gatkuoth several times said his government is actively working to increase the oil output to 350bpd to reach its level at the independence from Sudan, in July 2011.

STRENGTHENING FINANCIAL TIES

Minister Gatkuoth, also held a separate meeting with the Acting CEO of Qatar National Bank (QNB) Abdallah Mubarak Al-Khalifa to discuss ways to fund oil development and infrastructure projects.

Further, the sides discussed the cooperation between WNB and the South Sudanese government in the fields of trade, commerce, economic development, support for small businesses.

QNB was the first Middle Eastern bank to open in South Sudan in 2011 and provided a loan of 100-million dollar to purchase food and fuel in March 2012, following a difference with Khartoum over oil fees and the shutdown of oil production.

(ST)