S/Sudan confirms oil exports delay

22 November 2012, Sweetcrude, Juba – SALVA Kiir, South Sudan’s president, has confirmed that the resumption of his country’s oil output had been delayed.

He blamed this on Sudan’s new demands over rebel fighting in Sudanese territory.

South Sudan, the landlocked, newly-independent state shut its oil output of roughly 350,000 barrels per day in January in a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to export oil through Sudan to the Red Sea.

The two countries reached a temporary agreement in September, after a protracted talks process on oil export fees and improving border security, opening the way to resuming crude exports, the lifeline of both economies.

On Monday, Sudan denied intentionally delaying the trade but said the two sides had not yet agreed on how to demilitarise their border – a condition for resuming oil flows.

Speaking in Upper Nile state on Tuesday Kiir suggested the delay was related to rebellions in two Sudanese regions – Blue Nile state and the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state.

“We were supposed to resume oil production on 15 November, five days ago. Suddenly Khartoum people changed their minds, saying we must denounce the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile,” Kiir said, according to Reuters reports.

Kiir gave no new date for restarting oil output, which had been expected to hit export markets by the end of December or early January after works to restart the pipelines.

Kiir earlier set the foundation stone for South Sudan’s first refinery with a capacity of 10,000 barrels a day, in a drive to lower dependency from Sudan’s oil facilities.

Khartoum accuses Juba of backing the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North, some of whom were displaced into South Sudan after partition, but South Sudan denies this.

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