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Rising oil prices are vital for South Sudan to revitalize its battered economy, as oil revenues are almost all of the country’s hard currency export income, according to South Sudan Oil Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
“The oil market is appreciating now very well the oil price is going up its 65 dollars a barrel and yet in South Sudan it’s something we need to cerebrate because our economy is driven by oil. We are going very well in the oil industry,” the minister was quoted as saying on Monday after he returned from the OPEC and allies’ meeting in Vienna last week.
South Sudan is part of the non-OPEC group of producers currently in a joint agreement with OPEC to cut collective crude oil production through the end of 2018 in an effort to draw down global oil inventories to their five-year average and ‘stabilize’ oil prices.
South Sudan is studying the benefits of joining OPEC because it looks to double its oil production in 12 months from the current 135,000 bpd, Minister Gatkuoth told Reuters last week.
Then this week, Gatkuoth said:
“If you look at the production in Dar Petroleum or DPOC in Paloch, we used to produce 270,000 bpd but now we are producing 135-140,000 bpd. Then if you go to GPOC we used to produce close to 200,000 barrels a day but now we are producing zero. So we have agreed with Sudan to resume the production there.”
Earlier this year, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to open direct trade along the border and increase production in the oil fields in South Sudan that are currently not functioning, in a deal that will serve as an economic lifeline to both countries.
According to Gatkuoth, Total and Tullow Oil are looking to invest in blocks in South Sudan.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com