By Mandela Nelson Denis

Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga has urged investors to invest in South Sudan’s oil sector.

Dr.  Igga made the appeal while addressing the official opening of the first oil and gas conference in South Sudan held at Equatoria Towers in Juba yesterday.

He said that South Sudan’s potential is to be made a reality as a place to invest in and develop the oil sector for domestic purposes.

“South Sudan’s oil and gas industry is experiencing changes to sustain an important legacy, we must continue to invest in our resources and we must do more”, he said.

The Vice President further explained that investing in local resources is not about oil and gas, but also investment in people. He said that more investment should be geared towards the local capacity in order for South Sudan to be stable.

“Work together to put policies in place to enable large scale utilization of gas and national interest first not just the bigger profits, we should utilize gas and oil to reserve enough energy for domestic use”, Dr. Wani added.

According to the Vice President, South Sudan has three trillion reserves of gas and  marked that 2017 was the year of rapid growth in oil and gas sector, though he acknowledged that over the past eighteen months, oil and gas sector experienced numerous challenges.

The Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth said his Ministry is ready to work with any investor willing to make aggressive development in the oil and gas sector in South Sudan. He vowed to provide maximum security to investors in the oil fields.

“Those willing to invest in South Sudan, you are the first to make money, but you must invest and develop the sector aggressively. You must meet our terms and if you meet them, we will sign an agreement with you immediately. But if you are not ready, we will say bye, bye”, Gatkouth said.

The Minister further stressed that despite South Sudan’s huge potential in the oil sector, South Sudanese comes first, then oil follows.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Centurion Law group, N.J Ayuk, said that the oil and gas industry were the back-bone of Africa. He added that investment in South Sudan had to be protected.

“Investment has to be protected and I hope that the Parliament will do more to ensure that South Sudanese are part of this investment,” Mr. Ayuk urged.

South Sudan being the third oil producing country in Sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Angola, produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day, though currently it has dropped up to 130,000.

The oil and gas conference which is the first to be organised in South Sudan,  attracted investors in the oil sector from different countries such as; India, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa and many other representatives from other countries.