Boldly Exploring New Frontiers
Chairman of Oranto Petroleum Prince Engr Arthur Eze speaks about Oranto Petroleum’s recent deal with the government of South Sudan to explore Block B3. The Exploration Production Sharing Agreement was signed in in March, and has Oranto investing $500 million into exploration activities in the block as a 90 percent shareholder of the block.
What types of exploration opportunities does Oranto Petroleum seek in Africa?
We work boldly in frontier exploration in Africa. Africa has had great success in exploration activities in recent years, with several of the world’s top discoveries for both 2015 and 2016 coming out of Africa. While frontier exploration can be risky, we have a very strategic investment strategy, which includes seeking partners for de-risked assets and actively pursuing investments and divestments. We know that Africa is at the forefront of frontier exploration globally, and we are, by acreage, the largest indigenous frontier exploration player in Africa.
Why did you look for opportunities in South Sudan? What is attractive about the country?
South Sudan, while certainly an exploration frontier, also has substantial proven reserves. South Sudan has 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 3 trillion cubic feet of gas in proved reserves, yet much of the country is unexplored. Block B3 specifically is considered to be highly prospective, with the Muglad Basin to the northwest. Estimated reserves are more than 3 billion barrels of oil. We plan to continue the exploration success in South Sudan and look forward to play a part in the development of the country’s oil and gas sector.
How do you think South Sudan’s internal conflict will impact exploration?
The government has insured, that despite internal conflicts, the country is attractive and safe for investments. The government has certainly made oil production a priority, and is taking steps to secure oil facilities in the region from rebel groups. Certainly, dealing with internal conflict is not a new challenge for oil and gas producers in Africa. Nigeria, one of the strongest oil and gas producers on the continent, is also dealing with similar problems. Additionally, the country has enacted strong a regulatory framework and created incentives for investors.
This interview excerpt is part of the Africa Energy Series: South Sudan 2017 book, which will be released at Africa Oil & Power in Cape Town from June 5-7. The full interview with Chairman Prince Engr Arthur Eze will be available in the Africa Energy Series publication.