South Sudan to Maintain Oil Production as Sudan Delays Shutdown

South Sudan halted closing its oil wells after receiving formal notification from neighboring Sudan that a planned shutdown of exports is being delayed, the Petroleum Ministry said.

“After receiving a formal letter from Khartoum, we will instruct the oil companies operating in South Sudan not to shut down as scheduled,” Petroleum Ministry spokesman Nicodemus Ajak Bior said in a phone interview yesterday from Juba, the capital. “We will not go down and will not decrease until the two weeks are over.”

The country’s production is currently between 100,000 and 180,000 barrels per day, Bior said. Government Secretary-General Abdon Agau Jongkuch said last week production was at about 75,000 barrels per day.

Landlocked South Sudan exports all of its crude via a pipeline through Sudan to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir on June 8 threatened to halt exports within 60 days unless the south withdraws support for rebels opposed to his rule. On July 26, the order was postponed to allow the African Union to probe the claims that the south is supporting the rebels.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said yesterday his government will “continue to negotiate with Khartoum in order not to shut down the oil again.”

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s output of 490,000 barrels a day, producing about 350,000 barrels daily. Its crude is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., known also as Petronas, and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Juba at mngor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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