Prosperity through Unity

A statement encouraging the continued collaboration between OPEC and non-OPEC nations by Hon. Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of South Sudan.

The stability of markets and global oil prices, and therefore the prosperity of our own country, are the priorities of the Transitional Government of National Unity of the Republic of South Sudan and the Ministry of Petroleum. There is no better demonstration of this than our collaboration with OPEC and non-OPEC members to arrest the decline of oil prices and bring new hope to oil producing countries in Africa. Through multi-lateral cooperation with partners, all with the same goal, we are proud to have made a positive impact on the oil and gas market for our own country, for our African neighbours, and for global producers.

In December 2016, for the first time since 2001, 24 OPEC and non-OPEC countries came together to manage oil output and reduce the oversupply in the market. This historic collaboration relied upon African countries, who showed great unity in the face of the oil oversupply challenge. The Republic of South Sudan joined other non-OPEC producers Sudan and Equatorial Guinea and OPEC producers Nigeria, Angola and Gabon to reduce production. Equatorial Guinea subsequently joined OPEC. In the 2016 deal we agreed to reduce our own production by 8,000 barrels per day. In total, the group pledged to remove 1.76 million barrels per day from the market. This was faithfully implemented since the beginning of 2017.

It is our conviction that the 2016 Declaration of Cooperation not only helped bring prices back to a more sustainable level; it rescued the oil and gas industry from imminent collapse.

Prospects are now good for the global industry in 2018. The Brent Crude Oil Price today April 23, 2018 is $74.25 dollars a barrel. South Sudan is in a position to consolidate its security gains and begin operations in previously shutdown areas. For our oil industry to be the engine for growth it needs to be, collaboration is key. Making our plans alone, and committing only to the good of our country and not the good of the community of oil producers worldwide are not viable options. Greater cooperation is our agenda as we bring new investment to South Sudan.

To this end, we urge our fellow African producers to join us at the table. I was encouraged to see our neighbor Uganda next to me at the 173rd OPEC meeting at the end of 2017, along with other non-member African states Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Egypt and Sudan. At that meeting we agreed to extend the production cuts to the end of 2018.

We hope to work with these African partners to bring mutual gains to our oil and gas industries through the transfer of technology and expertise. As a group, we can represent Africa on the global stage and make a positive impact on global markets. This is a new movement. We can succeed if we stand tall together.

South Sudan’s prosperity depends on our collaboration and unity with countries that share our aims and values. We believe that we have a long-term agenda for economic growth and market stability that we can achieve together with OPEC and non-OPEC nations. That historic moment in 2016 was the beginning of a new era of cooperation. South Sudan is committed to deepening its partnership with OPEC and its alliance with other producers and continuing to work together for the common good of our nations.