Oil giants from the US, UK and France are seeking a return to prospecting oil in South Sudan, with US-based Exxon Mobil Corporation reportedly in secret talks with Juba to buy a stake in South Sudan’s vast untapped oil deposit, a senior-level government source familiar with the negotiations has said.
The official, who demanded his identity be submerged because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the government is pleased about the fact that Western oil companies are returning to South Sudan.
“The government is working days and nights to make sure these corporations are awarded stakes in our oil deposits,” the source said, adding “we are happy about the fact that French, UK, and US oil companies are coming back to do business with us.”
The source revealed that France-based oil and gas company Total SA and London-based Tullow Oil Plc have also shown interest in buying stakes of the untapped reserves.
Exxon Mobil, once led by the current United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, ended oil exploration in 2014 after the civil war broke out.
The source further disclosed that ‘around the clock negotiations’ between South Sudanese Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and oil and gas companies are ongoing and that Juba expects ‘positive outcomes’ from the talks.