The country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday that production was being wound down on the insistence of Sudan over allegations South Sudan continues to support rebel groups near the neighbours’ border.
Production has since been slashed from 200,000 bpd to 160,000 bpd but this is set to fall further in the next few days before, it is alleged, being totally shut in.
Reuters quoted Mawien Makol Arik, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Juba, as saying on Friday: “It should go down to 100,000 over the weekend, and then next week it will continue to go down from there.”
On Thursday the news wire quoted Arik as saying: “It is going to go down gradually until it goes off,” he continued.
“This is a decision made by Khartoum … still accusing us of supporting rebels, which is a position we denied. We said we don’t do that.”
Sudan and South Sudan have been at almost continuous loggerheads ever since the latter split from the former in July 2011 to become the world’s newest country. South Sudan took with it around three quarters of the total reserves of the once unified nation.
The Juba administration has in the past shut off all production as it accused Sudan of stealing its oil which it has to send via Sudan’s pipeline infrastructure to ports on the Red Sea as it has no infrastructure of its own.
Plans are in motion, however, for the construction of two pipelines through neighbouring countries to take oil from South Sudanese oilfields to international markets via Kenyan ports.