South Sudan Says Khartoum to Help Repair Damaged Oilfields
NAIROBI, May 24 (Reuters) - Sudan has offered to supply materials, engineers and electricity to South Sudan to speed up the repair of oilfields damaged during a five month rebellion that has cut output by a third, South Sudan's oil minister said on Saturday.
Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters South Sudan's output stood at 165,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from 245,000 bpd when the fighting broke out in December, but that production should increase within 45 days to three months.
At least 10,000 people have died since violence erupted in the capital Juba and spread across oil producing regions. South Sudan is desperate to increase production after the conflict depleted government coffers and crippled the economy.
Dau said his counterpart in the Khartoum oil ministry has agreed to provide support to Sudd Petroleum Operating Company and Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC), operators of the two oilfields in the northern Unity State bordering Sudan.
"The two operators are coordinating and having meetings in Juba and Khartoum to assess technical support that will be required," Dau said by telephone from Juba.
Juba and old foe Sudan, from whom South Sudan ceded in 2011, came close to a full blown war soon after independence due to a dispute over oil fees. Though both sides backed down, a 14-month oil shutdown at the time devastated both economies.
Dau added Khartoum had agreed to supply electricity from its Heglig oil facility on the border of the two countries if the Unity state oilfields were without power, though the extent of the damage to the oilfields was not clear.
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