South Sudan to launch first oil, gas bidding round in March

South Sudan's Petroleum Minister said on Wednesday Juba is prepared to host its first oil and gas bidding round next month as a means to accelerate economic recovery.

Daniel Awow Chuang, South Sudan's Petroleum minister, told Xinhua in an interview that the ministry is planning to launch the country's first oil and gas bidding round in March, adding that the environmental audit has already commenced.

"This licensing round will not just be given, but the companies have to compete, and for us, we have to get the best at the end of the day. There are a number of companies that have expressed interest, and in March we will evaluate each," Chuang said in Juba.

He said that the current data collection which is done by the Ministry of Petroleum provides a platform for investors to invest in the oil sector, and will add more value to the country's national resources.

"The area we are exploring can only be 10 or 11 percent, but the rest 89 or 90 is unexplored that means we still need a lot of work to be done, and that's why we are planning to have the licensing round to make sure more oil is explored," he said.

The minister revealed that since August 2019, South Sudan has made a discovery in the Adar oil field in Block 3, containing more than 37 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The official said the timely formation of the new government this month will help spur the appetite of international oil investors and services companies to enter the country's oil and gas sector.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for almost all of its exports and around 60 percent of its gross domestic product.