August 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said that his country has asked Khartoum to provide technical assistance to restart oil production from oil fields in Unity area.
Unity oil fields have been shut down since 2014 due to the fighting between the government and SPLM-IO troops. The lack of oil revenue affected the fragile economy of the new state as it depends entirely on crude exports.
South Sudan Petroleum Minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth on 18 August discussed the resumption of oil production with the Chinese ambassador in Juba and the return of Chinese oil worker to South Sudan.
Following his meeting with President Omer al-Bashir on Monday; Gai told reporters that the two countries to cooperate together in the oil production and Sudan will provide assistance to increase the production of Upper Nile fields and the resumption of oil production in the Unity region.
The South Sudanese first vice-president announced the outcome of a meeting the South Sudanese Oil Minister Gatkuoth held on Monday with his Sudanese counterpart Mohamed Zayed Awad.
The two ministers discussed the oil agreement between the two countries – as the two countries had previously agreed to review oil transit fees – the increase of oil production in Upper Nile area and the resumption of oil production in Unity area.
In statements after the meeting, Awad announced the commitment of the Sudanese government to support and assist the South Sudan to increase oil production, to resume oil production from Unity wells and to review the oil transit fee agreement.
Following the fall of oil prices, Juba asked for the revision of an agreement reached in September 2012 . The deal provides to pay to Khartoum $9.10 for the oil produced in Upper Nile state and $11 for that of Unity state which produces some 20% of South Sudan’s oil.
In January 2016, Sudan gave its agreement in principle to reduce it; but technical teams didn’t reach an agreement due to the delay in their works. Also, Khartoum resumed accusation against Juba of support to Sudanese rebel groups.
Minister Gatkuoth said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, and appreciated Sudan’s readiness to cooperate with his country in oil industry and production.
“We are here to open a new page of cooperation and bring a shift in the oil production for the benefit of the two peoples,” he said.