JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan on Wednesday officially launched the country’s first oil licensing round in the capital Juba.

The Petroleum Ministry has identified new exploration blocks with potential hydrocarbons and has compiled crucial data to provide for interested investors, operators and counterparties.

According to new studies assigned by the ministry, approximately 90% of the country’s oil and gas reserves remain unexplored, heralding unprecedented opportunities for international investors.

“The oil licensing round aims to attract interest from a diverse group of foreign investors to a region that is already home to oil and gas majors from China and Malaysia,” South Sudan Petroleum Minister Puot Kang Chol said during the launching ceremony.

“The country is hoping to welcome back experienced partners and operators following significant progress in returning to peace and stability,” he added.

The licensed blocks range between 4,000 and 25,000 square kilometers (1,544-9,650 square miles), with most comprising between 15,000 and 20,000 square kms (5,800-7,700 square mi), according to the minister.

He said that with the new data, analysis and government mechanisms, the ministry seeks to attract high-quality investors and partners.

After years of instability and conflict, lasting peace is finally gaining a foothold in the country following the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) in February 2020, and the follow-up agreement over governance of the country’s states.

South Sudan is now firmly back on a positive developmental path and is expected to continue as Africa’s one of the fastest-growing countries in the foreseeable future.

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