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
0

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.


‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

Updated 17 June 2019
0

‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

  • Fatih Birol’s comments were a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges
  • Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving problems such as global warming

DUBAI: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, cracked a joke in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.
“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be,” he wrote about the fuel that many experts agree could hold the key to the world’s energy problems.
It was a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen — generation, storage, and transportation — make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges.
Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving such problems as global warming and environmental degradation.
“The world has an important opportunity to tap into hydrogen’s vast potential to become a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future … The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future,” the report said.
That argument will get a critical boost today, when Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, opens its first hydrogen fueling station in Dhahran Techno Valley, in the heart of the Kingdom’s oil producing region.
Aramco has partnered with Air Products, a US company that has been a pioneer in the use of industrial gases, to produce a filling station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

 

It is very much a test. “The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment,” Aramco said when the project was first announced.
But it is something Aramco has been investigating for a long time. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s chef technology officer, said: “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
Hydrogen — essentially what is left when you take the oxygen out of water — has been recognized as a potential fuel source for many decades. Motor manufacturers developed a hydrogen motor engine 50 years ago, but the ease and accessibility of hydrocarbon fuels — oil, gas and coal — made it uneconomic to develop this technology beyond the prototype stage.
Now, as the debate over the role of hydrocarbons in the global environmental balance has become ever more intense, some experts, including Birol and other influential parts of the thought-leadership establishment, believe hydrogen is the next Big Thing in global energy trends.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said recently that “green” hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, and that is the problem the theoreticians are struggling with: Hydrogen is released naturally in the process of burning hydrocarbons, but it is self-defeating, in an environmental sense. if you have to burn oil, gas or coal to produce it.
On the other hand, renewable sources, like sun, wind and water, do not produce enough hydrogen to be practically or commercially viable, and not at the right times, when people actually need it.
But, as the WEF noted recently “low-cost green hydrogen is coming”, as technology advances mean the cost of renewable energy falls dramatically each year. The Middle East already has a very big and very cost-efficient program for solar energy generation.
The other challenges lay in how to store and transport hydrogen. It can be loaded onto a tanker like LNG, or pushed through pipelines, but it would require a huge investment to change current logistics systems — essentially designed for oil and LNG — to handle hydrogen.
Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, already have the infrastructure associated with oil and gas refining and petrochemicals production to be able to equip “hydrogen hubs,” as long as there is government will and commercial incentive to do so.
For the Kingdom, it looks like a no-brainer for the future. As Birol said: “So, hydrogen offers tantalising promises of cleaner industry and emissions-free power. Turning it into energy produces only water, not greenhouse gases. It’s also the most abundant element in the universe. What’s not to like?”

FACTOID

Technological advances mean low-cost ‘green’ hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, according to the World Economic Forum.