South Sudan raises oil output in Unity state to 30,000 bpd


By Andrew Green

JUBA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - South Sudan resumed pumping at thesmall El Tor oilfield, bringing production of waxy light crudein its Unity State to 30,000 barrels per day (bpd), its oilminister said on Thursday.

The landlocked African country has been increasing oilproduction since reaching a deal with arch foe Sudan to continueto use its oil export facilities and Port Sudan port, its onlywindow to markets.

Sudan had earlier threatened to close the pipelinesconnecting the two countries in a row over alleged support forSudanese rebels operating across the shared border.

South Sudan's Oil Minister, Stephen Dhieu Dau, told Reutersoutput resumed at El Tor on Thursday with more than 5,000 bpd.The field had been shut down in January 2012 with the rest ofthe country's wells when tensions with Sudan over oil feesescalated.

He said the total output at oilfields in Unity state, whichis mixed to produce the light sweet Nile Blend, was now 30,000bpd. Restarting production in the Unity state has been achallenge as some facilities were damaged during weeks of borderskirmishes with Sudan in April 2012.

"If we complete the resumption for the whole northernoilfield in Unity State, we will now be in a position that thelevel of the production will be as at before the shutdown inJanuary 2012, which was around 60,000 barrels per day," Dausaid.

South Sudan also pumps some 170,000 bpd from fields in UpperNile state to produce the heavy sour Dar Blend, its main crudeproduct. The African country used to pump 300,000 bpd until theshutdown in January 2012.

China National Petroleum Corp, India's ONGC Videsh andMalaysia's Petronas are the main firms running the country'soilfields. (Writing by Ulf Laessing; editing by James Jukwey)

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