“We’re Floating In Oil; India Can Explore, Drill More Than Largest Investor—China”

Why should India care about South Sudan? Why are 2,547 Indian men and women military and civilian peacekeepers in the Central-East African country? Why does ONGC have stakes in two oil blocks?

South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga took all of those questions in an interview to SNI in New Delhi. On natural resources and China being the largest investor in the sector, he said “Business worldwide is competitive, not just in South Sudan. China currently has the largest share but there are many more areas to explore and drill. India, if it wants, can enter into even more wells that China is doing. South Sudan is floating in oil.”

Oil income is 98 per cent of the country’s budget but production is under half of what it was before the 2013 civil war. China has the largest investment. India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd has 25 per cent and 24.12 per cent stakes in two blocks.


SNI Photo: South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga

Vice President Igga also said: “China is getting some of its investment in oil back, not all of it, in barrels of oil. India is getting its quota. We get our share after Indian investors sell. It’s up to India to choose whether to continue that way or choose if they want crude as the Chinese are doing.”

SNI Graphics: Tarun Chawla

All this of course depends on the peace process. The deal signed between President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar in September 2018 has broadly stopped the 2013 civil war that has killed an estimated 400,000 people and left most of the over 12 million people facing malnutrition and severe food insecurity. The UN estimates more than four million are internally displaced or refugees in the neighbouring countries.

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