Nigerian firm Oranto Petroleum is set to invest around $500m to develop Block B3, which covers an area of about 25,150km², in South Sudan.

The company has entered into an exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) with the South Sudan’s government to develop the block, which is part of Block B.

In 2012, the government divided Block B into three parts such as B1, B2 and B3. The Block B includes an area of around 120,000km².

Oranto has launched a comprehensive exploration campaign at the block that is expected to hold reserves with about three billion barrels of oil.

Under the first three-year exploration period, Oranto intends to complete airborne geophysical survey, in addition to acquiring and processing 2D seismic.

The company will also study the data collected from the government and previous operators.

Oranto is the technical operator with 90% stake in the block, while Nilepet owns the remaining 10% interest.

South Sudan petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said: “The government is working hard to reinvigorate the petroleum industry in South Sudan by creating an enabling environment for International oil and gas companies to invest and operate. It is up to the oil companies to come in, explore and produce.”

Oranto Petroleum founder and chairman Prince Arthur Eze said: “This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Nilepet, the people of South Sudan and our partners to bring to light the immense potential of Block B3.”

Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum, which are the sister firms of the Atlas Oranto Group, own and operate 20 oil and gas acreages in 10 African countries.