JUBA, South Sudan, July 8 (UPI) -- The South Sudanese government needs assistance from U.S. energy companies to help turn the oil industry around, a government minister said.
The South Sudanese government in June announced Japanese companies would help construct an oil pipeline through Kenya to help with oil exports.
South Sudan gained control over major oil producing acreage when it secured independence through a peace deal with Sudan brokered with the help of the U.S. government. Sudan, however, maintained control over the export infrastructure.
South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin was quoted by the Platts energy reporting website as saying the government was looking for additional support from the U.S. energy sector.
"We need your technology and financial support to boost our private sector," he said Friday. "The United States stood with us during the difficult period of our liberation war. Now we need American support to develop this new nation."
U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page said there was emerging interest in the South Sudanese oil sector.
Oil exports from South Sudan were halted last year because of revenue disputes with the Sudanese government. Both sides approached the brink of war last year following disputes regarding oil in the border territory of Heglig.