Sudan Has Restarted Oil Production from Heglig

LONDON - Sudan has restarted half of its production from a key oil hub, a government spokesman said Wednesday, after heavy aerial bombing last month disrupted output.

The resumption at Heglig oil field, in the border region disputed by Sudan and South Sudan, comes as many exports from the oil-rich territory are still shut in--a factor that's helped to support persistently high oil prices in 2012.

South Sudan in January halted its roughly 350,000 barrels-a-day production, effectively cutting itself off from 98% of its government revenue. South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan last July, said Sudan had stolen millions of barrels of southern oil. Sudan denies this.

Sudanese government spokesman Rabie Abdelaty said oil was prepared for export. The Heglig is a key distribution point with facilities including a major oil refinery. It was producing about 60,000 barrels a day before the heavy bombardment began last month.

A senior diplomat based in Khartoum, who visited the oil fields last week, said there was obvious destruction to the production facilities in Heglig. The pipelines and oil reservoirs had serious damage, along with the main pumping station and control room, he said.

Sudan produces about 110,000 barrels a day. South Sudan occupied the Heglig oil field in April, but has since retreated in line with requests by the African Union and United Nations. Intense fighting between the two neighbors continues, with a spokesman for the South Sudan army saying 27 died in attacks Tuesday.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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