South Sudan believes that Russian companies can help it to develop its oil, natural gas, and refining industries, the foreign minister of the small African oil producer has told

South Sudan believes that Russian companies can help it to develop its oil, natural gas, and refining industries, the foreign minister of the small African oil producer has told Sputnik.

Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of South Sudan, visited Russia earlier this week, where she met with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss areas of potential cooperation.

The ministers followed up previous contacts from the Russia-Africa summit last October. ??

?We informed our colleagues about the Russian companies working in the oil and gas, infrastructure, railway and transport sectors that are ready to discuss possible mutually beneficial projects with our South Sudanese partners. We have agreed to promote direct contacts between our economic operators,? minister Lavrov said at the meeting, as carried by the Russian foreign ministry.

South Sudan, one of the newest countries in the world, currently pumps around 170,000 bpd, but aims to raise that production to 200,000 bpd this year, the South Sudanese foreign minister told Sputnik.

South Sudan broke from Sudan in 2011 and took with it around 350,000 bpd in oil production.

But then civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013 that further complicated oil production.

Earlier this month, South Sudan's the government said that the country looks to have a full environmental impact audit of all its oil-producing fields and conduct such audits ahead of any new exploration and drilling.

?And while the government is eager to welcome new exploration and production, companies would be held to a high standard. The era of ?bad business' was coming to an end,? South Sudan's President Salva Kiir said in August last year.

Russian oil companies, for their part, look at investment opportunities in Africa, the second-biggest Russian oil producer, Lukoil, said earlier this month.

Russian companies, including Lukoil, are?looking for deals?in Africa, especially in West Africa. ?

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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