The US-based Exxon Mobil Corporation is in secret talks with Juba to buy a stake in South Sudan’s vast untapped oil deposit, a senior-level government source familiar with the negotiations told the South Sudan News Agency last week.
The official, who demanded his identity be submerged because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the government is pleased about the fact that Western oil companies are returning to South Sudan.
“The government is working days and nights to make sure these corporations are awarded stakes in our oil deposits,” the source said, adding “we are happy about the fact that French, UK, and US oil companies are coming back to do business with us.”
The source revealed that France-based oil and gas company Total SA and London-based Tullow Oil Plc have also shown interest in buying stakes of the untapped reserves.
Exxon Mobil, once led by Rex William. Tillerson, the current United States’ Secretary of State, ended oil exploration in South Sudan in 2014 after the civil war broke out.
The source further disclosed to the South Sudan News Agency that “around the clock negotiations” between South Sudanese Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and oil and gas companies are ongoing and that Juba expects “positive outcomes” from the talks.