By MADING NGOR
South Sudan plans to resume crude output in Unity state by
July after conflict in the worlds newest nation caused
the northern region to freeze production.
Oil fields in Unity will gradually raise output toward the
50,000 bpd they produced before the December shutdown,
Petroleum Ministry spokesman Nicodemus Ajak Bior said in an
interview today in the capital, Juba.
A new refinery
built by Russian and
South Sudanese companies near the state capital, Bentiu, will
begin producing 3,000 bpd of diesel in July, he said.
In the beginning there will be a challenge to bring
back production to the pre-shutdown levels, Bior said.
People are working day and night to see to it that
production has restarted.
South Sudans oil output has fallen by about a third
since fighting erupted on Dec. 15 between factions loyal to
President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Violence has left thousands of people dead and forced more
than a million to flee their homes, according to the United
The country is currently producing about 160,000 bpd from
Upper Nile, the only state still pumping crude, Bior said.
Machar has vowed to seize key oil installations in a bid to
starve the military of revenue.
Government forces retook Bentiu from rebels on Jan. 26 and
the Juba-based Sudd Petroleum Operating Co. has assessed
damage to the facilities
, Bior said. China
National Petroleum Corp., India
s Oil & Natural Gas
Corp. and Petroliam Nasional Bhd., the main producers of
South Sudans oil, evacuated employees from the country
due to the fighting.
is finished on
, a joint venture by
Russias Safinat and the state-owned Nile Petroleum
Corp., Bior said. A later expansion
will raise output to
5,000 bpd, he said, without specifying a timescale.
The refinery is ready, however commissioning will
commence once the oil field in Unity state resumes
production, Bior said.
of a 10,000-bpd refinery
in Melut county, Upper
Nile state, has halted due to the conflict, Bior said.
Texas-based Ventech Engineers International was building the
facility which is set to produce diesel, kerosene and fuel
oil, he said.
South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in July
2011, has sub-Saharan Africas third-biggest oil
reserves, according to BP data.
The countrys low-sulfur crude is prized by Japanese
buyers as a cleaner-burning fuel for power generation. The
country has the capacity to produce as much as 350,000 to
400,000 bpd, Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said on