Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 13 December 2019

South Sudan's Trinity Energy looks to attract $700m to develop hydrocarbons industry

The company plans to form joint ventures with international energy firms to invest in refining and midstream schemes

Trinity Energy spokesman Akol Nyok Akol (right) says the South Sudanese firm plans a refinery scheme in the Upper Nile state. Reem Mohammed/The National
Trinity Energy spokesman Akol Nyok Akol (right) says the South Sudanese firm plans a refinery scheme in the Upper Nile state. Reem Mohammed/The National

South Sudanese firm Trinity Energy wants to attract around $700 million in foreign investment in refining, midstream and energy service projects as the country pushes to engage its private sector in developing its hydrocarbon resources.

"Collectively, an investment of around $500m and $700m would really give Trinity Energy the ability to revamp the private sector in South Sudan,” Akol Nyok Akol, a spokesperson for the firm, told The National in Dubai.

Headquartered in the capitral Juba, Trinity Energy is planning to build the country’s first refinery - a 30,000 to 50,000 barrel-per-day capacity facility estimated to cost up to $250m “within two years”, said Mr Akol.

"We had some hurdles with the conflict going on. But now, with the coming of peace, there are a lot of prospects we’re looking at,” he added.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country after it broke away from Sudan in 2011, has Africa’s third-largest oil reserves at an estimated 7 billion barrels. It currently produces below capacity at 165,000 bpd after a two-year civil war devastated oil facilities. Crude accounts for nearly all of the country’s export revenues and efforts are underway to modernise South Sudan's infrastructure following a peace deal struck between the government and a rival faction last year.

Now the country is seeking $3 billion in investments across its energy sector to revamp the country’s infrastructure and boost production to 300,000 bpd in five years.

Trinity Energy, which is one of the few private energy operators in South Sudan, is looking at developing a refining facility in the fertile northern Upper Nile state, close to Ethiopia.

"The region doesn’t have a refinery - in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda. So the refinery will be near the border with Ethiopia. It’s a project we’ve identified and has a prospect. Ethiopia has the second-largest population in Africa,” said Mr Akol.

The company will also need investment to deploy service rigs, which could cost anything between $6m and $12m depending on whether the equipment procured is second-hand or new, as well as build midstream infrastructure in the country.

"We want to go into midstream and essentially control the oil supply chain. [We’d like] more South Sudanese stake, by that, more ownership,” said Mr Akol.

Service contracts in South Sudan are typically executed by Chinese and Malaysian contractors. Trinity Energy hopes that with the signing of the peace deal, the company could increase its role in developing the country’s energy resources.

"We’re open to joint ventures and investment. We’ve developed a relationship with the African Export and Import bank, so we’re looking at ways to increase our capacity. How much can we put up and how much investors are willing to bring and this will determine our partnerships,” said Mr Akol.

Updated: April 25, 2019 05:00 PM