Jun 2021: The Ministry of Petroleum announced the launch of the country’s first oil licensing round. The available 5 blocks (out of 14) range from 4,000 to 25,000 sq kms. Currently there are 3 consortia operating producing blocks and another 4 companies with PSCs. Investors have until 23 August to request information.
Mar 2020: The Ministry of Petroleum has suspended its preliminary oil and gas bidding round. It had planned a licensing round for 14 blocks in the northern oil fields.
Nov 2019: The country plans to offer 14 oil blocks to exploration companies in a licensing round by the first quarter 2020 switching from its previous method of direct negotiations with explorers.
Aug 2019: A 5.3mm bbl oil unnamed discovery has been made in Northern Upper Nile State, Adar area. It is the first since independence in 2011 when exploration was interrupted by instability. The discovery will be tied into the nearby Paloch oil fields operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company with production beginning at the end of 2019.
Jan 2019: South Sudan resumed production at its Unity oilfields where operations were halted in 2013 when a civil war erupted. The first phase began with 5 of 16 wells operating with an initial target of 20,000 bbls per day rising to 40,000 by the end of January.
Aug 2018: Production has resumed (20,000 bbls of oil per day) at the Toma South field, where it was suspended in 2013 with output at 5 of the suspended oilfields expected to reach 80,000 bbls per day by the end of 2018. Oil is shipped via a pipeline through Sudan. The area of Toma South saw intense fighting between rebels and government troops, damaging production facilities.
Jul 2018: South Sudan has called off talks with Total about developing the B1 and B2 blocks after failing to agree on the duration of the exploration and the commercial terms of a PSC.
Jun 2017: - South Sudan plans to drill 30 new wells in 2017 and almost double current production to 200,000 bbls a day according to the petroleum minister. It will also resume stalled negotiations with Tullow and Total on Blocks B1 and B2.
Apr 2017: The Ministry of Petroleum announced that it has opened Blocks B1 and B2 for direct negotiations after Total, Tullow and Kufpec pulled out over the proposed exploration period and cost recovery limit.
Mar 2017: Oranto Petroleum (operator, 90%) and Nilepet (10%) will begin exploration of Block B3 after signing an EPSA contract. The unexplored B3 area covers 25,150 sq kms and the Muglad Basin underlies its northwest corner. Block B was split by the government into B1, B2 and B3 in 2012.
No significant news in 2016.
Jan 2015: Oil production has risen by about 9,000 bbls per day to 169,000 bpd from last year in Upper Nile State and Unity State despite sporadic fighting near oil-producing fields. Production has dropped by a third since fighting broke out in December 2013 with many oil wells damaged.
Dec 2014: The oil minister says South Sudan will drill 253 wells in 2015(GS notes: probably an over-estimate of the actual number to be drilled). When South Sudan seceded in 2011 it took three-quarters of the former unified country's oil wealth but the rising cost of living has stirred social discontent, prompting violent protests and high inflation.
Dec 2013: Oil production has fallen by 45,000 bbls per day after oilfields in Unity state had to be shut down. The opposition leader Machar and President Salva Kiir both indicated they were ready to talk to try to end the conflict. Production in Upper Nile state is reported to be outside the reach of rebels. ONGC, Petronas and CNPC have evacuated their staff.
Dec 2013: Fighting between workers in two oil fields (Unity and Thar Jath) has killed at least 16 people but the government says it has regained control and oil production has not been affected.
Sep 2013: South Sudan is planning to boost oil production by 40,000 bbls per after agreeing a deal with Sudan (North) to continue exports, increasing output to at least 200,000 bbls per day. The country hopes to restore output to pre-closure levels of 350,000 bbls per day by the end of 2013.
Jul 2013: South Sudan has reduced its oil output and plans to shut it off completely after Sudan (North) insisted production be terminated over allegations of support for rebels that operate along the border. Flows of oil had only resumed in April. South Sudan has called on China, which dominates the industry in both countries, to mediate. The main foreign firms operating in South Sudan are CNPC, Petronas and ONGC Videsh.
May 2013: Dar Petroleum reports that the Palogue oil field in Blocks 3 and 7 will reach production of up to 180,000 bbls per day by July after restarting a month later than initially predicted. South Sudan shutdown its total output of up to 350,000 bbls per day in January 2012 when tensions with Sudan (North) escalated. Partners in Palogue include CNPC and Petronas. Production from the Jath Thar oilfield restarted in early April but is likely to remain at around 30,000 bbls per day for at least six months.
Apr 2013: South Sudan has restarted oil production. Production was halted 14 months ago over a disagreement about how much South Sudan should pay to export its oil through Sudanese pipelines. The first oil is expected to reach Sudan (North)'s ports by the end of May with output expected to reach 150,000 to 200,000 bbls per day.
Mar 2013: Production is expected to resume after reaching an agreement with Sudan (North). South Sudan shut in production in Jan 2012, 6 months since gaining independence before which it produced around 350,000 bbls per day, 75% of the production of former Sudan. South Sudan has no export infrastructure, except by pipeline through Sudan (North) to the Red Sea and plans to construct an oil pipeline through Kenya for export to the Indian Ocean.