(Ecofin Agency) - South Sudan has begun talks with India regarding the revival of oil blocks, which were closed during the civil war in 2013.
South Sudan during initial discussions between the government representatives of the two countries, compensated ONGC Videsh, for the period that the blocks were closed.
According to Indian government officials, major areas regarding current law and order situations in South Sudan as well as the security environment of ONGC’s personnel have not yet been discussed.
The officials noted that during the period that operations were suspended in December 2013, all ONGC personnel were evacuated adding that any deal to revive the assets would require a new security protocol before the company’s personnel could be redeployed.
ONGC Videsh holds a 25% equity interest in the Greater Pioneer Operating Company, which produced 37 000 bpd and another 25% in Block 5A, which produced 4 600 bpd.
The transition government of South Sudan plans to increase oil production to the at least 500 000 bbl/d, level being produced at the time that the country was divided.
However, Indian officials have said that any effort by ONGC Videsh to resume operations would only come after a new review of ground conditions in and around the oil blocks as well as the carrying out of a fresh socio-impact study before the Indian company would submit a fresh proposal to revive the production facilities.
This was important as in the context of several reports of the civil war in the region resulting in acute degradation of environment from dilapidated oil production infrastructure, displacement of communities and unending replacement of local area governance, the officials told Mining Weekly.