Malaysian oil giants, Petronas announced on Thursday that the company does not intend to participate in South Sudan’s first oil licensing round.
“Due to challenging market conditions, Petronas is undertaking a strategic review of its assets to ensure that its portfolio remains resilient and commercially viable,” the state-owned oil and gas firm told The Edge Markets.
“Therefore, Petronas may not be participating in the South Sudan’s first licensing round this year,” it added.
Petronas and China National Petroleum Corporation are currently operating in the world’s youngest nation.
Last month, South Sudan’s Petroleum ministry launched its first oil licensing auction with five blocks on offer.
The ministry, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune last week, said it had identified new exploration blocks with potential hydrocarbons, and compiled crucial data for interested investors, operators and counterparties.
“The oil licensing round aims to attract interest from a diverse group of foreign investors to a region that is already home to oil and gas majors from China and Malaysia,” partly reads the statement.
Income from oil accounts for 98 percent of South Sudan’s annual budget.
In June last year, the Central Bank of South Sudan said it would start buying crude gold from local miners to boost the land-locked East African country’s economy.