By Aweye Teddy Onam and Mamer Abraham
South Sudan’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning dismissed a report that the government has signed a 3-billion-dollar agreement with an American oil company.
The report speculated that Caltech Trading Corporation would partner with the government to purchase and take over the shares of Malaysian state-owned company, PETRONAS, which is now withdrawing from South Sudan’s oil sector.
President Salva Kiir’s held a meeting with the leadership of the US oil company Caltech Trading Corporation, last week, at the sideline of the United National General Assembly in New York, where an agreement was alleged to have been reached.
However, Finance Minister, Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol refuted the claim, saying the meeting between President Kiir and the Caltech management was on potential investment opportunities and no such a deal was signed.
“It is important to clarify that as of now, no formal agreement has been signed between the parties,” Dr. Bak told journalists on Monday.
Dr. Bak maintained that the government can’t indulge in unscrupulous engagements.
“The government of South Sudan remains committed to transparent and accountable process in all engagements,” he added.
He admitted that discussions have been ongoing between the Ministry of Finance and Caltech Trading Corporation since August 2023 on exploring areas of potential cooperation, but no formal agreement has been signed.
PETRONAS Oil Company decided to pull out of business after 24 years of operation.
South Sudan’s oil reserves are estimated at 3.5 billion barrels, giving it the third-largest reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and Angola.
Nearly 90% of South Sudan’s oil and gas reserves remain untapped, according to the Ministry of Petroleum.