July 12 (UPI) -- South Sudan in October will highlight its potential for energy investments in its first conference for potential investors, the organizer said.
African Oil & Power is organizing the South Sudan Oil and Power expo set to take place in mid-October in the nation's capital, Juba. South Sudan President Salva Kiir is scheduled to deliver the opening address Oct. 11, followed by a keynote speech from Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
Africa Oil CEO Guillaume Doane said South Sudan's dedication to peace could help establish oil and natural gas as foundations for the fledgling nation's economy.
"East Africa's only oil producer has a profound legacy in oil and gas and we are eager to work with our government partners to attract the interest of companies," he said in a statement. "We are witnessing the emergence of a country with vast potential."
When it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, landlocked South Sudan gained control over much of the oil-producing regions, but Sudan maintained its grip on export infrastructure. Rebel forces two years after independence were waging war for control over Paloch near the Sudanese border, the only part of South Sudan that was producing oil.
The country's petroleum minister said the October event gives his country an opportunity to showcase its potential for energy and infrastructure development.
The South Sudanese government has worked with Japanese companies on efforts to build an oil pipeline through Kenya to help with oil exports. In 2013, the government in Juba reached out to the United States for support in developing its oil sector, one of the few economic lifelines for South Sudan. Chinese companies, however, were among the first to tap into the undeveloped market in South Sudan.
"We welcome any and all visitors to discover the wealth of natural resources we have and the accommodating investment environment being created by our people," Gatkuoth said.
Most of the oil produced from the region comes from fields straddling the poorly defined border separating Sudan from South Sudan. Both countries are party to a multilateral effort, led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, to curb output as part of a broader effort to balance an oversupplied market.
OPEC in its monthly report for July said total African production is expected to increase by 50,000 barrels per day this year to a net 1.87 million barrels per day, though output from Sudan is expected to decline.
South Sudan marked its sixth year of independence from Sudan on Sunday.