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South Sudan Plans Sale of New Oil Concessions, Spokesman Says

South Sudan plans to break up large oil blocks and sell off smaller concessions for exploration, government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

The government will issue tenders for the concessions within the next few months after it has divided blocks that cover parts of Warrap, Lakes, Central Equatoria and Northern Bahr el Ghazel states, Benjamin said today in a telephone interview from the capital, Juba.

“It will be announced by the oil ministry and it will be in the international and national media,” he said. “It will be very transparent.”

The government lost 98 percent of its revenue when it decided to shut down oil production a year ago amid a dispute over how much the landlocked country should pay to export its oil through pipelines running across Sudan.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011, taking control of about three-quarters of the formerly united country’s output of 490,000 barrels of oil a day. Oil in South Sudan is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd.

South Sudan invited bids from oil companies in September to develop two concessions that had been part of Block B, which covered most of restive Jonglei state and in which Paris-based Total SA held a 32.5 percent stake. The government said it granted control of a third of the former block to Total.

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