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South Sudan records decline in crude oil production: official

October 17, 2020 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s crude oil production has declined from 185,000 to 165,000 barrels per day due to effects of the Coronavirus and floods in parts of the country, an official said.

South Sudanese soldiers guard an oil refining facility (AFP)

“Our production has dropped to 115,000-118,000 bpd in Dar and then in three GPOC blocks it is around 50,000 BPD, which adds up to 165,000 bpd all over the country,” Awou Daniel Chuang, the undersecretary in the Petroleum and Mining ministry remarked.

“If we expect any increase, it will not be more than 5-10% maximum. It is not easy for us to go back to the previous 300,000 bpd because of the geological challenges. We understand there is a natural decline and oil reserve is limited,” he added.

Oil production is crucial for South Sudan to recover from years of civil war that devastated the economy. However, while the nation is estimated to have the third-biggest reserves of the commodity in sub-Saharan Africa, production of about 170,000 barrels a day is less than half the output before fighting broke out in 2013.

Last year, South Sudan announced its first oil find after the secession, at 5.3 million barrels of recoverable crude. At the time, its oil production averaged 180,000 bpd, down from 350,000 bpd before secession from Sudan, amid plans to increase crude oil production.

Despite the existing challenges, however, the country is still pursuing plans to boost production.

“We have around 14 blocks other than the areas that we are producing. We are working every day to collect data and then do the mapping, which will help us to open the licensing rounds. The licensing round is to invite new bidders, new players in South Sudan so that we can explore oil in other areas. There is a very big potential to discover more oil in other areas across South Sudan,” said Chuang.

Oil-rich South Sudan is struggling to increase oil production, months after the signing of the revitalized peace accord in September 2018.

About 90% of South Sudan government’s revenue comes from oil resources, while the rest is collected in the form of customs taxes, market taxes, road taxes, income tax and permits, among others.