South Sudan resumes oil production at bloc after seven-year break

South Sudan resumes oil production at bloc after seven-year break
South Sudan has been rebuilding its oil sector since a 2018 peace deal formally ended years of civil war in the country.
2 min read
22 June, 2021
The Petrodar oil concession in South Sudan on January 29, 2012 [Getty]

South Sudan oil block resumed production on Monday after a seven-year hiatus over a dispute with neighbouring Sudan.

Production at Block 5A in Unity State, bordering Sudan, has been capped at 8,000 barrels a day by Sudan. Oil Minister Puot Kang Chol told reporters at a ceremony on Monday that Juba would ensure a lift to the cap in order to double production, Anadolu Agency reported.

It follows an agreement reached with Khartoum earlier this year to develop oil cooperation, including the resumption of operations at joint oil fields. Resumed production at the block has been years in the making, with agreements made with Khartoum in 2018.

The Sudd Petroleum Operating Company (SPOC) operates the block.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. It began shutting off oil production in 2012 due to disputes with Khartoum over allegations that it was aiding rebels in Sudan.

Although South Sudan is an oil-rich country it is also landlocked and so needs to send its oil via Sudan to the Red Sea.

Civil war ravaged the country until a peace deal was reached in 2018. A unity government was formed last year and the country's leaders are now drafting its constitution.

Efforts to rebuild South Sudan's oil sector were knocked back last year by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global oil price crash.

South Sudan is part of OPEC+ and subject to the current cap in production but the cartel has since relaxed the cap on states as oil demand increases.