South Sudan signed an agreement to renew all oil drilling contracts with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) for another five years, World Bulletin reported.

The government also agreed to compensate local subsidiaries of CNPC and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) an unspecified amount of money for the shutdown of oil production in 2012 and December 2013, as well as provide for an extension of the contract until 2022 for the Paloch and Unity oil fields, News Ghana informed.

The Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said the agreements were vital in boosting South Sudan’s economy by setting a target to increase output to over 300,000b/d.

He added: “We will move quickly to repair all the damaged facilities and put them to production.” Gatkuoth also assured the oil companies of protection of their personnel and infrastructure in oil producing blocks affected by civil war in Unity and Upper Niles states.

Oil contracts had been signed by the government of neighboring Sudan before South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. The world’s newest country is estimated to have Sub Saharan Africa’s third-biggest crude reserves.