Talks between South Sudan and Sudan to resume oil production have raised hopes the former’s economy could rise and shine again.
The discussions which kicked off Monday in Khartoum were attended by Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum Dr Mohammed Awad Zayed and his South Sudanese counterpart Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
The talks included an oil agreement and technical cooperation to restore Al-Wohda Oil Field and increase of oil production in Upper Nile fields.
South Sudan’s oil production plummeted to 120,000 bpd from 350,000 bpd due to the damage of the infrastructure during the recent civil war.
Only Paloch in Upper Nile State was producing oil but the end of the fighting and talks with Khartoum have sent a positive signal to oil companies to revamp their facilities for production.
The country has been grappling with an economic crisis with inflation hitting a shocking 266 percent and dollar shortage causing closure of businesses.
Sudan’s oil minister affirmed more cooperation between the two sides and helping the State of South Sudan to increase its production through logistic assistance and reconsideration of the transit fees.
Khartoum has been asking South Sudan to pay $12 per barrel of oil that goes through Port Sudan for export.
Dr Zayed further expressed hope the two sides will reach an agreement acceptable to both, expressing readiness to supply Unity and Sarjath oil fields with the necessary logistics that will contribute to reproduction and transport oil through the Sudanese pipelines to the oil ports in Port Sudan.
Some of the companies that have been operating in South Sudan include China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp.
Sudan remains a critical ally as South Sudan’s oil is exported through Port Sudan. There is hope Kenya will build a pipeline which could allow South Sudan export its oil through its neighbour’s northern region.
Meanwhile, the South Sudan Oil Minister expressed satisfaction over the oil production cooperation between the two countries, lauding Sudan for helping his country.
“We are here to open a new chapter of cooperation between the two sides for the interest of the people of the two countries,” said Ezekiel.
The technicians in the two sides embarked on joint meetings to reach an agreement on transit fees and production increase.