Sudan plan road/ oil pipeline project on Ethiopia border

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --South Sudan plans to construct road projects, oil pipeline and oil refinery after government forces captured the rebel stronghold of Pagak near Ethiopia border.

Speaking to Xinhua on Wednesday, South Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia James Morgan said despite Ethiopia and South Sudan signing an economic Memorandum of Understanding early this year, the lack of control by South Sudan government forces bordering Ethiopia had hindered implementation of the agreement.

Although South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 from Sudan, less than three years later, it plunged into a civil war pitting forces broadly loyal to President Salva Kiir against those of his Ex-Deputy Riek Machar

South Sudan plans to build a road project and oil pipeline from the oil fields to Ethiopian border through the Pagak crossing ensuring Ethio-South Sudan economic ties blossom, he said.

With road links interrupted by fighting in South Sudan, Ethiopian Airlines’ twice weekly flights to South Sudan capital Juba is the main remaining infrastructure link between the two nations.

South Sudan also plans to build an oil refinery near the Ethiopian border to send refined oil products to Africa’s second most populous nation and one of the continent’s fast growing economies.

“Our first task will be establishing police, customs and immigration offices on the border, that will be able to stop insecurity and criminality that has affected both SS and Ethiopia,” said Morgan.

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South Sudan hosts oil conference seeking to boost energy industry

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A two-day oil and power conference kicked off on Wednesday in Juba, which seeks to boost investment in the energy industry of the oil-rich east African nation.

The conference is organized by Africa Oil and Power (AOP) in partnership with the South Sudanese government.

The event, which brings together leading oil companies in South Sudan as well as energy experts from local and international enterprises, will discuss such topics as investment, security, logistics, technology, regional integration, and infrastructure development.

In his opening remarks, AOP CEO Guillaume Doane said the conference would enable South Sudan to showcase its enormous potential in both energy and infrastructure.

“We will be here this week to do what we can to accelerate progress, to create and foster new opportunities, to engender optimism and to be sustainable,” said Doane.

South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga said the conference would open up the landlocked country to new investment opportunities that can drive development in the energy sector.

“South Sudan’s time to shine has come. Events like this one give us a platform to understand and clearly announce to the world that South Sudan is emerging as a powerful nation with a world-class petroleum industry,” Igga said.

South Sudan depends on oil revenue for 98 percent of its budget, but production plummeted due to civil war that erupted in December 2013.

The conflict forced most oilfields in the country’s oil-rich northern region to shut down, leading to a drop in production to less than 130,000 barrels per day (bpd), from 350,000 bpd in 2011.

Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said South Sudan holds 3.5 billion barrels of unexploited oil and that 70 percent of country’s oil blocks remain unexplored.

He said the country has opened up investment and exploration opportunities in Blocks B1, B2, B3 and E2, all located in northern South Sudan, in a bid to increase production to nearly 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by next year.

“We want to move very quickly to go back to the production we used to have,” he said. “By the end of this year, we are targeting 150,000 barrels a day and by next we want to go to 280,000 barrels per day.”

Gatkuoth added that the government has embarked on building four oil refineries that would help curb fuel shortages, encourage harvesting of natural gas and boost development of the gas industry.

“We are here to attract investors, those who are interested in investing in South Sudan,” he added. “It is better to start immediately before it is too late.”

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South Sudan agrees on unified consultation: official

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A senior South Sudanese official on Wednesday said various parties that make up the transitional unity government (TGoNU) have agreed to joint consultation during the upcoming peace deal revitalization by the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“We have already received the IGAD letter on revitalization and without prejudice to other parties to be consulted, we have agreed to be consulted as the TGoNU,” said Michael Makuei, Minister of Information in Juba.

This came after an earlier call by Dhieu Mathok, a senior member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) faction led by First Vice President Taban Deng Gai urging unified consultation instead of reaching out to individuals separately.

“Automatically the government (TGoNU) must be consulted not as individuals. We are not negotiating the peace agreement, we are revitalizing the peace agreement and TGoNU is significant mechanism of implementation of this peace agreement,” Mathok earlier said.

The High-Level Revitalization Forum that will start on Oct. 13-17 in Juba was launched in June in a bid to resuscitate the weakened peace agreement in the wake of the renewed July clash last year, by including the main SPLA-IO faction led by former First Vice President Riek Machar and other newly formed armed groups.

Meanwhile, the SPLM- Former Political Detainees (SPLM-FDs) leadership under Pagan Amum said they are in favor of separate consultation despite having two members in the TGoNU cabinet.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Salva Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions others.

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