According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, proven oil reserves of Sudan and South Sudan equal 5bn barrels, but production has remained stagnant in recent years despite efforts to boost it from old wells and desperate attempts to attract foreign investment amid reluctance by international oil companies due to the lack of political and security stability in the land.
The governments of the two countries were supposed to finally start providing license term books to foreign investors with the aim to increase production and revenues – Malaysia’s Petronas owns the majority of the main assets of oil exploration in South Sudan.
Oil production affected by war
South Sudan’s crude oil production has fallen to 150,000 bpd, according to estimates by Plats, an agency owned by Standard & Poor’s Global, compared to 350,000 bpd, which South Sudan used to produce before 2013, when its civil war broke out and destroyed production facilities in most oil fields.
Since 2018, South Sudan has been trying to reopen the fields in the hope of returning to pre-war production levels.
In Sudan, due to limited production, the ongoing fighting may not raise concerns about its impact on global oil supplies, as the country produces only 60,000 bpd – although it is among OPEC+’s producers.
Sudan and South Sudan oil is mostly exported to Asia where it is refined in China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Sudan also relies on the import of petroleum products because there are no sufficient refining facilities to meet domestic demand.
The latest outbreak of war in the country this April has reinforced fears that imports of these derivatives, most notably gasoline and diesel – the most widely used in Sudan and South Sudan, where the total fuel consumption in the two countries reached about 150,000 bpd in 2016 and has remained at this level since then – could be affected.