KAMPALA, Uganda - Oil producing Sudan and newly independent South Sudan started talks on Monday aimed at resolving a dispute over the sharing of assets belonging to former national oil company Sudapet, said officials.
A South Sudanese delegation from the oil and mining ministry has arrived in Khartoum for talks with their Sudanese counterparts, said Sudanese government spokesman Rabie Abdelaty, as the two former civil war foes continue to disentangle their oil assets.
"Both sides are keen to ensure that the issue of Sudapet is resolved quickly," said Mr. Abdelaty.
The talks are part of the African Union-mediated framework on the implementation of cooperation agreements signed in September last year.
Sudan is demanding up to $2 billion from South Sudan as compensation for assets including buildings, storage tanks, processing facilities and pipelines located in the south. Juba has in the past dismissed Khartoum's claim, arguing that it is the rightful owner of the assets within its territory following its independence in July 2011.
Sudan is also demanding compensation for damage to its oil facilities in the oil hub of Heglig that was briefly occupied by South Sudanese forces in April last year.
According to Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudan's information minister, the talks are expected to yield positive results.
"We have just restarted our oil, things are improving, we are hoping for the best," Mr. Benjamin said.
Land locked South Sudan broke away from Sudan taking control of as much as 75% of the oil fields but has to rely on ports and pipelines, which pass through the north, to ship its crude for export.
The two countries have since been embroiled in a number of disputes over the sharing of oil revenues, which led to the shutdown of the south's 350,000 barrels-a-day of crude last year plunging both economies into turmoil.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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