By Deng Machol
Juba – Sudan government has reiterated its full cooperation and commitment on South Sudan’s oil production in regards to any disputes.
South Sudan has the third largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, but most of its oil facilities have been destroyed in the civil war that started in 2013 – two years after it seceded from Sudan.
Some of its oilfields have recently restarted oil production, but returning to full production capacity will take time. In August, South Sudan resumed pumping of crude oil from Toma South oilfields to resurface the waning country’s economy.
The oil fields are in South Sudan, but entered to the international markets through Sudan, as refineries and pipelines are in Sudan.
Sudan Petroleum Minister Azhari Abdallah said the Khartoum, Juba must to cooperate for oil production to flow so that it can re-strengthen the economy of two countries.
In aftermath of South Sudan independence, Juba shut down its oil production in Heglig area, accusing Khartoum government of stealing its oil, a year later, it was re-opened but it left behind a mistrust between the two countries government. Something Minister Abdallah said it will not reiteration again.
The current revitalized peace deal – backing by Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir, it brought Khartoum and Juba back to cooperation despite the past suspicious.
“At last picture, we are convinced in Sudan [that] there is a best way to maintain stability and peace in the two countries. There must be cooperation and we must integrate our resources and we must exchange knowledges and experiences and this is exactly what we are doing and that for us is major objectives,” Abdallah told the Pan African Visions in an interview last week in Juba during the oil and power conference.
“We are fully confident that this time around we have a genuine determination to maintain stability and peace,” he added.
Minister said the oil is mean to benefit the people of South Sudan through socio – economic development.
Minister Abdallah said the 2012 oil shut down has affected the standard of living of the people in both countries, including the economy development.
However, South Sudan’s Petroleum Ezekiel Lul said earlier in South Sudan, the people are fade of war and fighting. And then the leadership is convinced that it is good for the people and the country to be stable so that the people should return to invest into the resources of the country that will enhance the prosperity for the people of country.
“This is the best way for any country to prosper, to develop and grow through peace and stability and that alone can convince the leaders that this time around, the people must be serious,” Abdallah said.
According to the Minister, the recent oil and power conference is excellence indication for prosper and develop in South Sudan. South Sudan made its first big foreign investment pitch since asserting an end to civil war, to attracts global investors as the new revitalized peace deal holds.
The world youngest nation is eager to make up for $4 billion in lost revenue caused by the five-year conflict after the government and armed opposition signed a power-sharing agreement two months ago.
Tapping 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, the third largest in Africa, is the fastest route for South Sudan, whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil exports.
South Sudan is currently produces about 150,000 barrels per day, 40 percent of which goes to cover operating costs. The government is left with 90,000 barrels, but partners such as China’s CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas take 20 percent of it.
While, the remaining profit has to be shared with Sudan’s government in Khartoum as Sudan use its infrastructure to process and transport its oil.
South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan in 2011, but descended into another civil war in 2013 over power struggling between President Kiir and his former vice president Machar.
With the revitalized peace deal at the hand, signed by President Kiir and rebel groups, backing by Sudan and Uganda, South Sudan hopes to return to full oil production capacity to strengthen and recover its fraught economy.