November 2, 2011 / 11:25 AM / 7 years ago

South Sudan wants investors for refinery

General view of the Tema oil refinery near Ghana's capital Accra March 28, 2005. REUTERS/Yaw Bibini

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Africa’s newest country South Sudan is looking for foreign investors to help build a refinery, a government official said on Wednesday.

“We are keen to attract investors to develop a refinery to meet local and regional needs ... This is one of our most important needs,” Elizabeth James Bol, the country’s deputy minister of petroleum and mines, told the Africa Upstream conference in Cape Town, which is part of Africa Oil Week.

South Sudan became independent on July 9 after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal with its former civil war foe, Khartoum.

Land-locked South Sudan took most of the country’s oil reserves with it and produces about 380,000 barrels per day, the deputy minister said.

A refinery would be a major undertaking in the impoverished and war-shattered country, which has little in the way of infrastructure.

It would also lessen its dependence on Sudan. The oil sectors of the two nations are inter-linked, and this makes it difficult for U.S. investors to go into South Sudan because of sanctions and restrictions that Washington still imposes on the north.

The deputy minister also said there were several blocks under development in the country where investment and partnership opportunities still existed.

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