South Sudan Gets $250 Million From Qatar Bank as Oil Output Cut

South Sudan is using a $250-million Qatar National Bank credit line to fund food and fuel purchases after civil war cut crude output, a key source of state revenue, the governor of the central bank said.

The loan came with an interest rate of “less than 6 percent” and no fixed term for repayment, Governor Kornelio Koriom Mayik said in a Sept. 9 interview in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The country requested the funds after conflict erupted in December, he said, without specifying when. Yousef Darwish, general manager of communications at QNB in Qatar’s capital, Doha, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

“We’ve turned it into what we call a revolving fund,” Mayik said. “You use it and when you’ve fully utilized it, and you paid it back, it’s given back to you again to come and reuse it.”

Oil output in the world’s newest nation has fallen by about a third to 160,000 barrels per day since conflict began in mid-December between President Salva Kiir’s army and rebels allied with his former deputy, Riek Machar. Violence has left thousands of people dead and forced more than 1.8 million to flee their homes.

Upper Nile state is the only region still pumping crude, with the conflict stalling plans to open the country’s first refinery. Earlier this year, Exxon Mobil Corp., the U.S.’s biggest oil company, pulled out of joint-exploration plans in Jonglei state, a sign of faltering investor confidence as peace talks fail to bring an end to fighting.

South Sudan secured a $100-million line of credit from QNB in 2012 after it halted oil production following a dispute with neighboring Sudan over the payment of transit fees. Landlocked South Sudan exports its crude via pipelines through Sudan to a port on the Red Sea.

South Sudan’s crude is mainly pumped by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. The companies evacuated some staff from the country because of the conflict.

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