Nigerian energy and infrastructure conglomerate Sahara Group and the South Sudan government inked a deal to develop the East African nation’s power sector, according to state-owed broadcaster.

South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC) reported Saturday that the Ministry of Energy and Dams of South Sudan and Sahara Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday for the construction of a thermal power plant in the oil-rich Unity region.

Dhieu Mathok, minister of energy and dams, said the plant, if completed, would ease electricity problems in the western parts of the country.

Mathok, however, failed to reveal the capacity of the proposed power plant and its cost.

“The project is going to supply the western part of the country – that is the whole area of Bar el Ghazel region and also some areas in Upper Nile and Unity,” Mathok said.

Alistair Morrison, power project manager at Sahara Group, said feasibility studies on the project have already started. “We have got a team of engineers waiting to come here and start the project,” Morrison said.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is one of the countries with the lowest per capita electricity consumption in Africa, partly due to decades of civil war and underdeveloped energy infrastructure.

Despite being a major oil producer, South Sudan currently relies on imported fuel for its energy requirements.

Fuel for the new plant will be sourced from a nearby oil refinery which is still under construction. The refinery is projected to process about 1,000 tonnes of crude oil daily.

“The upcoming refinery in the area is going to produce heavy fuels and for us to rescue the environment, we have to set up a thermal power in the area so that we shall be able to burn the heavy fuel,” Mathok said. Enditem

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