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Oil pumping in South Sudan’s Unity and Thar Jath fields to resume within 60 days: minister

June 30, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Ministry of Oil and Gas on Saturday has expected that oil production in South Sudan’s Unity and Thar Jath oil fields would resume in less than two months.

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Oil mining employees walk near the first well to restart production in the Thar Jath field in Unity state on 6 April 2013 (HANNAH MCNEISH/AFP/Getty Images)

South Sudanese parties Wednesday signed the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, where they committed themselves to a permanent ceasefire and pledged to finalize a deal on the pending issues in the governance chapter of the 2015 peace agreement.

The declaration provides to resume immediately in collaboration with the Sudanese government the rehabilitation of the damaged oil installations in the Unity region, Blocks 1,2, 4 and 5.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Saturday quoted Sudan’s oil minister Azhary Abdel-Gadir as saying the maintenance teams would arrive at Unity and Thar Jath oil fields in early July.

He expected that oil pumping in the two fields would resume in less than two months, saying they seek to reach maximum production capacity in these fields before the end of this year.

It is noteworthy that the Khartoum Declaration does not provide for the immediate resumption of oil production because South Sudan’s opposition led by Riek Machar rejected this idea saying this step should intervene after the signing of a comprehensive political settlement.

In the draft agreement, Khartoum proposed to repair and protect the installations in coordination with the South Sudanese government and to resume the production which will intervene within several weeks when the discussions are concluded.

South Sudan heavily relies on oil income to fund up to 98% of its budget. Also, it relies on the Sudanese pipeline to export its oil production through the Red Sea.