India and South Sudan oil talks resume

India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi (right), meeting South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir (left), in New Delhi; October 2015.’ Photo: National Informatics Centre of India

Juba, January 19, 2017 (SSNA) — The government of India and South Sudan have resumed talks over the resumption of oil production in Unity State.

The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned from a confidential government source that the two nations have been in secret talks since last November, hammering out best ways to resume oil output.

The source said Juba made it clear to New Delhi that its main priory is to reopen Block 1 and Block 5A and demand that Indian oil companies come up with solutions.

Block 5A also known as Tharjiath is run by SUDD Petroleum Operating Co and Block 1 is operated by Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company.

However, in one of the meetings, the security unit of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation demands that new security protocols be designed and implemented before its employees return to South Sudan.

South Sudan’s oil production has sharply reduced. The current daily output is 130,000 barrel per day (bpd), down from 245,000/bpd before civil war broke out.

South Sudan depends heavily on oil revenues and the price of crude oil has fallen, forcing many investors to withdraw their financial backings for fear of an economic collapse.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned last December that South Sudan faces “massive economic challenges”

The source also disclosed that secret discussions between the two countries are ongoing.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese rebels threatened to prevent any resumption of oil production in Unity State and other areas under their control.

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