VENTURES AFRICA – South Sudan is set to resume oil production within the next month, boosting the country’s economy after a nine-month shutdown due to a dispute with Khartoum.
The landlocked nation, which seceded from Sudan last year, is expected to resume production at 230,000 barrels per day, according to Reuters.
Restoration of production would be a huge boost to the new nation’s economy, with oil accounting for 98 percent of government revenues.
This comes after South Sudan shut down its entire output in January following a dispute about how much it should pay Khartoum to export oil through Sudan. Now a deal has been struck, South Sudan hopes to resume full output of 350,000 barrels a day by March in the Upper Nile oilfields and May in the Unity state fields, according to minister Stephen Dhieu Dau.
The country was forced to shut down its wells after a dispute with its northern neighbor over the cost of exporting crude through Sudan, on which it depends on for pipeline and port services. Oil, security and border deals signed in recent months have allowed production to resume after the shutdown.
Sudan has informed South Sudan that northern infrastructure is ready for the resumption of flows. He said that, once normal service was resumed, South Sudan hoped to further boost production by adding new wells and adding new technology to existing ones
Dau said that within a month South Sudan could be pumping between 180,000 to 200,000 barrels per day from the Upper Nile fields, as well as around 30,000 from Unity fields, though this would still be some way below full output.
“From our side we said we are now at 80 percent readiness,” he said. “I can disclose to you that within the month, if we complete the remaining 20 percent, we will be resuming shorter (sooner) than we said before.”
“It will be less than 90 days because the technical preparations are in place.”