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By Okech Francis
(Bloomberg) – South Africa will kick off its planned $1bn investment in South Sudan’s oil sector around November, an official said, part of a drive to boost crude output that’s dwindled after years of conflict.
“They were supposed to be here last year but the issue of Covid-19 stopped everything,” the undersecretary of South Sudan’s Petroleum Ministry, Awow Daniel Chuang, said Monday by phone. He didn’t give further details on how the agreement made in 2018 will be enacted.
Chuang also said his country will shortly resume talks with neighbouring Sudan on ways to increase output after Sudanese protesters ended a blockade that halted shipments of the landlocked south’s oil over the weekend.
Revitalising oil production is crucial for the East African nation that has few other sources of revenue and is trying to implement a peace deal to end a civil war that erupted in 2013. Chuang said in July that the country’s output has dropped rapidly after producing blocks hit peaks and began to decline.
Now the port stoppages on Sudan’s Red Sea coast are “being resolved, we are going to resume the talks and see how we can increase crude production” from the current rate of 156,000 barrels per day, Chuang said.
Demonstrators in eastern Sudan had blocked shipping facilities for several days, ostensibly to protest local components of a peace deal Sudan’s government is trying to enact with opposition movements nationwide.
The move threatened the economies of both South Sudan, whose oil is sent to world markets via its neighbour’s pipelines, and of fuel-importing Sudan, which receives transit fees.
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