20 Oct 2021


Although South Sudan has vast and largely untapped natural resources, beyond a few oil enclaves, it remains relatively undeveloped, characterized by a subsistence economy. South Sudan is the most oil-dependent country in the world, with oil accounting for almost the totality of exports, and around 60% of its gross domestic product (GDP). On current reserve estimates, oil production is expected to reduce steadily in future years and to become negligible by 2035.

The country’s growth domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2014 was $1,111. Outside the oil sector, livelihoods are concentrated in low productive, unpaid agriculture and pastoralists work, accounting for around 15% of GDP. In fact, 85% of the working population is engaged in non-wage work, chiefly in agriculture (78%).

The current conflict, has had a significant financial impact on South Sudan with 2014 GDP coming in at 15% less than projected. Furthermore, military expenditure has increased, further reducing the availability of resources for service delivery and capital spending on much needed infrastructure.

South Sudan’s discounted Dar blend oil prices decreased by 40% from $29.75 per barrel in December 2015 to $18 per barrel in January 2016. Production also significantly declined over the same period, cutting gross oil revenue by more than half from $29.7 million in December to $10.8 million in January. The decline in oil revenue, has also had a negative impact on macro-budgetary indicators, requiring austere fiscal adjustments. The current account has deteriorated considerably leading to depreciation of the parallel exchange rate and fueling inflation. The low level of foreign reserves could negatively affect food imports with further knock on effects on food intakes, notably during the “lean season,” which runs between April and October. The incidence of poverty has also worsened, from 44.7% in 2011 to more than 58.5% in 2015, with a corresponding increase in the depth of poverty.
Source : World Bank : Apr 09, 2016

The following companies are suppliers, retailers of oil in South Sudan:

  • Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC)
  • Imatong Petroleum
  • Dar Petroleum Company
  • Hass Petroleum
  • Nile Petroleum Company (Nilepet)
  • Aduar Petroleum
  • Seaway Petroleum
  • Standard Gas Petroleum
  • Wurbur Petroleum
  • Burfik Petroleum Company
  • Warsam Holdings Co. Ltd
  • Mam Petroleum

 Oil in South SudanExplorers


Total, through its subsidiary Total E&P Sudan, signed an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with the Government of Sudan on blocks in southeastern Sudan in 1980 including block B, the main area for Total’s exploration activity in Sudan alongside partners:

* Marathon Petroleum Sudan Ltd (32.5%, United States)

* Kufpec Sudan Ltd (25%, Kuwait)

* State-owned Sudapet (10%)

However, security issues in the region caused the suspension of exploration operations - Total were about to drill 3 oil wells - in 1985 with the agreement of the Sudanese government under a Stoppage Period provision. From 1985 to 2004 the Government of Sudan extended the Stoppage Period annually in which Total retained all of its rights on block B and kept a minimal presence on site.

In late December 2004, Total and its partners signed the Revised Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement with the Sudanese authorities to update the 1980 contract and to take account of new international industry standards, particularly in relation to corporate social responsibility, and to establish the terms and conditions for a resumption of operations in Sudan.

On 1 February 2005 Total E&P Sudan's representative was appointed in Khartoum and later in July received from International Crisis Group (ICG) an opinion on the Peace Agreements and on the White Nile issue.

However in May 2006, in accordance with Total's request, the High Court of London passed a judgement ordering White Nile to disclose documentation evidencing its alleged rights on part of block B.

Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) is Malaysia's national petroleum corporation incorporated in 1974 and wholly owned by the Government. The corporation is vested with the entire oil and gas resources in Malaysia and entrusted with the responsibility of developing and adding value to these resources.Suni
Petronas has major interests in Sudan’s oil fields that include:
  • Block 1, 2, & 4 (Exploration, Development and Production)
  • Block 3 & 7 (Exploration and Development)
  • Block 5A (Exploration and Development) and 5B (Exploration)
  • Block 8 (Exploration)
  • Block 15 (Exploration)

Crude oil production in Block 5A begun in June 2006 in Thar Jath field (54km2) which is located in Muglad Basin. White Nile Operating Company Ltd currently operates the production in partnership with Petronas, ONGC Videsh Ltd of India and Sudapet of Sudan with expected initial production rate of 20,000 barrels per day (BPD).

Talisman Energy Inc
An independent upstream oil and gas company with headquarters in Calgary, Canada.

Lundin Petroleum
Talisman Energy - a Canadian independent - that included exploration assets in Sudan, formed Lundin Petroleum AB in 2001 as a result of a takeover. Lundin Petroleum holds a 24.5% interest in Block 5B that covers the southern part of the Muglad basin and is on course to strike and begin crude oil production as is being done in block 5A. Block 5B is a large block of 20,119 square kilometers and is located in the Sudd swamp. The effective date of the Block 5B Exploration Production Sharing Agreement is May 2, 2001 with a contract for up to 25 years with a 6 years exploration phase. Petronas and Sudapet jointly operate this contract.

In April 2003 Lundin Petroleum sold its 40.375% interest and operatorship in Block 5A to partner Petronas Carigali Overseas for the sum of US$ 142.5 million.

During 2007, activities have been delayed due to the slow implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which required the setting up of institutions to deal with the oil issue. This took place in 2007 when the National Petroleum Commission gave its endorsement of WNPOC and its right to conduct operations in Block 5B. Exploration drilling is expected to begin in Q1 2008.

On the ground operations began in earnest in 2006, with some 440 km of seismic data being acquired, and continued into the first half of 2007 as a further 600 km of data were recorded. Parallel studies using this and older seismic led to the identification of a series of relatively shallow structural closures analogous to those successfully drilled in neighbouring Block 5A.

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Last updated at 5/17/2021