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South Sudan Needs Three Months to Restore Oilfield Output
South Sudan, which holds sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves, said it will take as many as three months to restore crude production to maximum capacity after a dispute with neighboring Sudan shut oilfields.
An agreement with Sudan last week allowing cross-border oil flows to resume will enable South Sudan to return production to full capacity of 350,000 barrels a day, Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said today in the capital, Juba.
The landlocked country exports all its crude via a pipeline through Sudan. A dispute that began last year between the two states over exports halted oil production, cutting the size of South Sudan’s economy by half to $9.34 billion, according to World Bank data. The nation has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, BP Plc (BP/) data show.
Output of Dar blend in the Upper Nile, where South Sudan’s largest oilfield is located, is currently about 170,000 barrels a day and will probably top 300,000 barrels a day within three months, Dau said. Nile blend, produced in Unity state, is at 20,000 barrels a day, according to the minister, who sees output ramping up from Sept. 12 when a new field is commissioned there.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil output of 490,000 barrels a day. Its low-sulfur crude, prized by Japanese buyers as a cleaner-burning fuel for power generation, is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC)
The country also plans to build a pipeline connecting oilfields in Tharjath in Unity state to blocks 3 and 7 in Upper Nile state to increase production, Dau said.
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