South Sudan restarts oil output at key field halted by conflict

Okech Francis January 07, 2019

JUBA (Bloomberg) -- South Sudan resumed production at its Unity oilfields, where operations were halted five years ago when a civil war erupted.

The East African nation is boosting output to fund a power-sharing government that’s being formed in the latest bid to end five years of conflict. South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude reserves and pumped about 350,000 bopd before fighting broke out in December 2013.

The first phase of the resumption of output at the Unity oilfields in the north of the country began on Dec. 31, with five of 16 wells operating, Oil Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said in a statement on his Facebook page. “The initial target of the oil production at Phase I will be 20,000 bpd,” he said.

Output will rise to 40,000 by the end of January, he said.

Unity oilfields are the second to resume production after Toma South returned to operation in August.

The conflict in South Sudan left about 400,000 people dead and displaced four million others, reducing crude oil production to about 130,000 bpd and leading to economic chaos in the country.

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