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Hurdles to Juba’s Development

South Sudan is struggling with how to advance, fund and staff a potentially lucrative oil sector that could provide a much-needed economic foothold in the impoverished country. After South Sudan’s independence, most of what used to be Sudan’s largest oil fields became located in South Sudanese territory. The new nation has lacked the expertise and money, though, to keep much of the oil pumping, and it has become largely dependent on foreign help. South Sudan ranks third in oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa with roughly 3.5 billion barrels produced annually. Still, 90% of the gas and oil reserves are untapped, and the government recently said it will begin a licensing bidding process to foreign investors to increase production and revenues. Oil fields were destroyed during the civil war and industry figures show the sector went from producing 350,000 barrels per day to 150,000 barrels. South Sudan has largely employed Chinese and Malaysian engineers to produce and export the country’s crude to Sudan, where it is processed and sent on to the international market. The South Sudan government says it lost more than $4 billion to some 500 oil companies in unpaid taxes since 2011, and the government has enacted measures to recover the money.