War-Torn South Sudan Seeks Foreign Investors In Oil Sector, Says It’s Safe

War-Torn South Sudan Seeks Foreign Investors In Oil Sector, Says It’s Safe

South Sudan, Africa’s newest independent nation, has invited foreign investors to the nation’s oil-rich areas by saying that regions are safe.

The oi-rich nation has seen an escalation in violence since July 7, when fighting broke out in the country’s capital, Juba.

The conflict has left over 300 people dead and thousands of others displaced as fierce battle between government forces and rebels allied to deposed Vice-president Riek Machar rages on.

“We are stable and peaceful, security is okay in oil areas,” Ezekiel Gatkuoth, Petroleum minister said during a media briefing on Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya.

The assurance comes days after South Sudanese soldiers stormed a hotel in the capital, killed a local journalist and raped aid workers in a five-hour ordeal, reported NPR.

One of the victims said that she was raped by at least 15 men.

The nation is trying to woo investors in efforts to boost her oil production levels that dropped from about 130,000 barrels to 5,000 barrels a day since fighting started.

China is currently the single biggest investor in the nation’s oil sector.

In July, a parliamentary committee in neighboring Sudan had expressed concerns that the ongoing conflict will adversely affect oil production, Sudan Tribune reported.

South Sudan’s economy is solely reliant on oil exports.

The nation aims to increase oil production by November this year, in addition to supplying neighboring Ethiopia with diesel and petrol.

Apart from lack of investors, South Sudan is locked in negotiations with Sudan over a reduction in oil transport and compensation fees.

The nation pays Khartoum about $25 per barrel for the shipment of oil, according to a statement by the United Nations Security Council.

In January this year, South Sudan government threatened to shut down the oil fields in Upper Nile state if Sudan authorities did not lower the transport fees.

The two governments agreed on a new fee of about $18 per barrel, The East African reported.

The fall in global oil prices and reduced production has badly hit South Sudan’s economy, driving her to seek the fee reduction.

The nation has the fourth-biggest oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa, reported Bloomberg.