South Sudan’s government announced that it granted Nigerian Oranto Petroleum International Company a license for oil exploration in a block covering three states that may contain huge oil reserves, reported Energy Voice.

Oranto’s investment amounts at $500m allocated to develop South Sudan’s Block B3, launching a comprehensive exploration campaign starting immediately. The Ministry of Petroleum of South Sudan and Oranto Petroleum Company signed the exploration and production sharing agreement for the block in Juba on the 6th of March 2017, reported GlobeNewswire.

Petroleum Minister, Ezekiel Loi Gatkuoth, informed reporters: “They will immediately start exploring this block.” He added: “We believe the petroleum resources of Block B3 are vast. To reach our target of more than double current oil production, we need committed new entrants like Oranto.”

The B3 block covers 25,150 km2. Some aeromagnetic and seismic data have been acquired for the area but no wells have been drilled. The block is highly prospective, with productive parts of the Muglad Basin to the northwest and estimated reserves in place of more than 3bb of oil. The block is categorized as low risk, high reward. Under the EPSA, Oranto will be the technical operator and 90% shareholder of the block, with Nilepet holding a 10% stake.