News24

S Sudan says 22m barrels of oil sold

2011-10-06 13:38

Juba - South Sudan has sold 22 million barrels of oil to international buyers through the north's Port Sudan export terminal since independence, at an estimated value of $2.14bn, the oil ministry said.

The announcement, made late on Wednesday, comes in spite of a bitter unresolved row between Khartoum and Juba about the fees the south owes for using the north's oil infrastructure.

"Since achieving independence on July 09 2011, the ministry of petroleum and mining... has contracted the sale of 22 million barrels for export crude oil," the ministry said in a statement.

"This volume covers the July through October 2011 period and is transiting by ship through Port Sudan marine terminal to international buyers located in Asia and Europe."

"The ministry estimates the total value of exports for this period at $2.14bn, based on current market prices," it added.

South Sudan, which formally split from the north on July 09, produces three-quarters of Sudan's total crude output of around 470 000 barrels per day.

It is one of the poorest countries in the world, after decades of war with the north that left the resource-rich country in ruins. Oil accounts for more than 95% of its total revenues.

But negotiations on how to divide the industry are in limbo, with the two sides far apart on what they consider to be an acceptable arrangement.

The Khartoum government is desperately short of hard currency, and wants to charge the south $32 per barrel for the use of its oil infrastructure, including pipelines, refinery and export facilities.

Juba has rejected this charge, calling it "daylight robbery", and has argued that 41c per barrel, which Cameroon charges Chad for the use of its pipeline, is a fair international standard.

On Wednesday, the US nominee for ambassador to South Sudan called on north and south to reach an oil-sharing deal quickly to avert "economic stresses".

"Right now both sides are allowing the oil to continue to flow and to be exported but, without something solid pretty quickly, both countries will really face some serious economic stresses," Susan Page told a US Senate confirmation hearing.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir was due to visit Khartoum this week, for the first time since southern independence, to discuss all the key outstanding issues with his northern counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, including oil and borders.

But the visit has been repeatedly postponed.