South Sudan to fund debt payment on resumed oil output


Juba • South Sudan will use revenue generated from the recent resumption of oil output at damaged fields to fund the repayment of about US$1.2 billion (RM4.98 billion) it owes Sudan, the petroleum minister said.

South Sudan agreed to pay US$3.2 billion to Sudan when the two nations separated in 2011 to help its northern neighbour cope with the loss of three quarters of its oil production.

South Sudan is emerging from almost five years of civil war and last month resumed output at fields in the north that were damaged in the conflict. All of its crude is exported along pipelines that transit Sudan to the Red Sea.

“We have paid almost US$2 billion already,” South Sudanese Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth told reporters on Monday in Juba.

“With the production resuming now, we will clear it,” he said, without specifying a timeframe.

The restart of output at blocks 1, 2 and 4 in Toma South marked the start of efforts to rebuild the oil-dependent economy, which has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest reserves.

Output at the blocks is flowing “nonstop”, Gatkuoth said. “The economy of the country will be definitely improving so that we have more development projects for our people.”

The ministry earlier signed exploration and production-sharing agreements with companies including China National Petroleum Corp, Oil & Natural Gas Corp of India, Petroliam Nasional Bhd of Malaysia, and the state-owned National Oil & Gas Corp of South Sudan. — Bloomberg