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Sudan’s Instability Threatens South Sudan Oil Production

South Sudan's Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang Chol addressing reporters in Juba Thursday April 20, 2023. VOA/Manyang David Mayar
South Sudan's Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang Chol addressing reporters in Juba Thursday April 20, 2023. VOA/Manyang David Mayar

JUBA — South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Puot Kang Chol, says the ongoing fighting in Sudan has cut-off the supply of critical materials and equipment needed for oil production at various sites across the country.

Chol told reporters in Juba Thursday the fighting in Sudan has "affected the logistics and transportation of critical materials and equipment through Port Sudan" to oilfields in South Sudan.

Chol said oil companies have limited stocks of raw materials for production but that the companies would continue to produce oil until the stocks were exhausted.

"The current inventories of all critical materials, chemicals and equipment in the oilfields are enough to sustain a smooth production and exportation activity of our crude oil for the next three months," Chol said, adding a newly set up emergency response team is working "with all the stakeholders and their counterparts in the Republic of Sudan to ensure continued production of crude oil."

The minister said his office and oil investors have started talks with authorities in Djibouti and Kenya to seek alternative routes for importing raw material needed for oil production in South Sudan.

The Ministry of Petroleum said pipelines, pump stations, processing facilities and export marine terminal in Sudan are still operating, adding that South Sudan’s produces up to 169 thousand barrels of crude oil per day.

Fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started on April 15 in the Sudan's capital Khartoum and elsewhere.

Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said Thursday there was "no room" for negotiations with his rival paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, as fighting between the two sides raged on into its seventh day.

Chol said he hoped the fighting in Sudan stops as soon as possible to avoid side-effects on oil productions in South Sudan.

"It should be our humble prayers, all of us, that the war comes to an end in the Republic of Sudan, because it is in the best interest of the people of South Sudan as well as the people of Sudan, Chol said. "However, in the event that it does not come to an end quick, we would not want anything that will affect the exportation of oil." he added.

South Sudan, regional leaders and the international community have repeatedly called for a cease-fire, but the warring parties in Sudan ignored the appeals and continued to attack each other's positions.