South Sudan says keep exporting oil to Sudan despite stoppage threat

Reuters News

6/10/2013 11:15:03 AM - Reuters News

By Hereward Holland

JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan continues to pump oil to Sudan despite a threat from its neighbor to stop cross-border flows in a row over alleged support for rebels, its oil minister said on Monday.

The landlocked African country, which has to use Sudan's export facilities, has piped around 7 million barrels of crude to its neighbor since resuming production in April, Stephen Dhieu Dau told reporters.

"This is increasing every day. This is not the final figure because producing is still on, we have not received any official communication from the government of Sudan so we are still producing," he said in the capital Juba.

He gave no production figure but officials said last month the country was pumping around 200,000 barrels a day from its main Palouge Field in Upper Nile state.

Sudan said on Sunday it would close the two export pipelines within two months unless South Sudan gave up any support for insurgents operating across the shared border.

South Sudan, which seceded from Khartoum in 2011 under a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of civil war, has long dismissed accusations of arming rebels bent on toppling President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Sudan said it would allow the export of the oil which has already arrived on its soil. The Chinese state-owned oil firm CNPC last week said it had already sold 1.2 million barrels of South Sudanese oil. The market for South Sudan's oil is dominated by Chinese, Indian and Malaysian firms.

Dau said any shutdown would be done gradually in coordination with Sudan and the oil companies. "It will not be done in one day, it will be done in 60 days by gradually till you reach zero production," he said.

(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Anthony Barker and William Hardy)