South Sudan to return to pre-war oil production levels ‘by 2020’

The country has one of the largest reserves of crude oil in the region. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2019
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South Sudan to return to pre-war oil production levels ‘by 2020’

  • The world’s youngest country, which split from Sudan in 2011, has one of the largest reserves of crude in sub-Saharan Africa, only a third of which have been explored so far

GREATER NOIDA, India: South Sudan will return to producing more than 350,000 barrels of crude per day by the middle of 2020, up from current levels of just over 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) currently, the country’s oil minister said on Sunday.
Production is expected to rise to 270,000 bpd by the end of 2019, Oil Minister Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth told Reuters. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Petrotech conference in Greater Noida, a satellite city of India’s capital New Delhi.
The world’s youngest country, which split from Sudan in 2011, has one of the largest reserves of crude in sub-Saharan Africa, only a third of which have been explored so far. The country lost many oilfields to a civil war that broke out two years after its independence. A September peace agreement is largely holding.
“By the end of the year, block 3 and 7 will be hitting 180,000 bpd, blocks 1, 2 and 4 will be producing 70,000 bpd, and block 5A will be producing 20,000 bpd,” Gatkuoth said.
“We used to produce 350,000 to 400,000 bpd. We expect to go back to those levels by the middle of next year,” he said.
South Sudan has signed a preliminary agreement with Russia’s Zarubezhneft for exploring some of the blocks, Gatkuoth said.
“They are interested in block B1, B2, E1 and E2. We will be working to see where they are likely to be interested in the most,” he said.
South Africa, which has committed to investing $1 billion in the country, would collaborate with South Sudan on the construction of pipelines and a new refinery along the border with Ethiopia, the minister said.
“We have agreed to build a refinery on the border of Ethiopia, we have already signed an agreement with Ethiopia to offtake refined products,” Gatkuoth said.
Land-locked South Sudan is looking to boost its export options as it looks beyond its neighbor Sudan, the minister said: “We have new blocks in the southern part of South Sudan, oil from which will be exported to East Africa (through the new pipelines).”
American oil majors such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron showed interest in investing in South Sudan, but are currently not interested because of the conflict, he said.
“We have been approaching Exxon officials, and I will be meeting them in Houston next month,” he said.


Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

Updated 23 April 2019
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Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

  • The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios
  • SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year

RIYADH: Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. (SRC), modelled on US mortgage finance firm Fannie Mae, aims to issue up to 4 billion riyals ($1.07 billion) of long-term sukuk this year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios from mortgage financing companies and banks to boost the Kingdom’s secondary mortgage market.

SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year, Fabrice Susini told Reuters in an interview.

“Our strategy is clearly to tap the market twice this year,” he said. “We are really looking at probably issuing something between ... 2 and 4 billion riyal that we may be issuing in two tranches.

He said SRC was looking at sukuk in the 10 to 15-year range, to help minimize refinancing risks. “Generally speaking we are trying to issue as long as possible,” Susini said.

He said the company was assessing whether it could also issue bonds in currencies other than the local riyal.

In March, SRC completed a 750 million riyal sukuk issue with multiple tenors, under a program that allows it to issue up to 11 billion riyals of local currency denominated Islamic bonds.

“The rule of the game for us is, like many projects across the Kingdom, attract liquidity from foreign investors,” Susini said.

He said SRC had spent 1.2 billion riyals from its balance sheet buying mortgages from local mortgage financing companies and provided liquidity to these firms.

It has also signed initial accords with several commercial banks to acquire housing mortgage portfolios.

Saudi Arabia’s housing ministry is targeting the mortgage market to reach a total value of 502 billion riyals by 2020 from around 300 billion riyals now.

The government wants to increase activity in the real estate market as it moves to revitalize the economy and is taking steps to reform the sector as part of its 2030 reform plan.

It has been working with developers and local banks to counter a shortage of affordable housing — one of the country’s biggest social and economic problems. Saudi Arabia wants 60 percent of its nationals to own homes by 2020, up from 47 percent in 2016.

The size of real estate financing relative to its gross domestic product is 5 percent in Saudi Arabia compared to 69 percent in the United States, 74 percent in the United Kingdom and 43 pct in Canada, the housing ministry has said.

“The goal of SRC in this market was to make sure that we will be able to refinance at least around 10 percent of the market in 2020, and 20 percent of the market by 2028,” Susini told Reuters.