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Chinese CNPC-led group discovers new oil field in South Sudan: minister

Highlights

Melut Basin finds holds 300 million barrels

New discovery in Block 3 near border with Ethiopia

Kampala — A consortium led by China's state-run CNPC has made a new oil discovery in South Sudan's northeastern Upper Nile state with more than 300 million barrels of recoverable oil, the country's oil minister Awow Daniel Chuang said Tuesday.

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An exploration well near the Adar oilfield in Block 3 in the Melut Basin near the border with Ethiopia and Sudan penetrated reservoir quality Miocene sandstones after drilling to a total depth of 1,320 meters, Chuang said.

"We are looking at over 300 million reserves with hope of more discoveries because there are more two more wells that are under review," he said in a interview.

China dominates South Sudan's oil industry, with CNPC operating the country's Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC) and Greater Petroleum Operating Company (GPOC) consortia, which are producing all of the country's oil.

DPOC controls the country's Dar blend crude from Blocks 3/7 in the northeastern Upper Nile state and includes CNPC alongside, Petronas of Malaysia, Nilepet, Sinopec, and Tri-Ocean Energy.

The company has been producing about 185,000 b/d and the country plans to raise output to 200,000 b/d by 2020, Chuang said.

Land-locked South Sudan is also seeking new export options for its crude, which is transported via Khartoum to the Red Sea, he said.

"We are now preparing to start constructing an inland crude pipeline to the main export pipeline which evacuates crude via Port Sudan at the Red sea for export and shipments will commence in the last quarter of 2020," Chuang said.

Oil production in South Sudan slipped from 350,000 b/d in 2011 to less than 130,000 b/d in 2014 and the country is planning to boost production back to pre-war levels by the the end of 2020, he said.

South Sudan's key oil infrastructure

-- Namala Doreen, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Robert Perkins, robert.perkins@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Daniel Lalor, daniel.lalor@spglobal.com