According to its oil minister, South Sudan is expecting a first oil shipment of 1 million barrels to dispatch from Sudan's Port Sudan terminal this week, despite indications from Khartoum to halt pipeline flows.
Earlier this month, Sudan alerted its landlocked neighbour to the south that it would close the two export pipelines to Port Sudan unless Juba ceased any support of rebels operating across the shared border.
South Sudan, which currently has no other export options than the pipelines to the north, denies the claims. In January 2012, South Sudan shut down its entire crude output of around 300 000 bpd in a row with Sudan over pipeline fees, but both agreed to resume pumping in March.
Oil already in the pipelines or tanks in Port Sudan is permitted to be sold, Khartoum has said.
South Sudan’s Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau confirmed that his country sold 1 million bbls of Dar Blend, its main crude product, this month and this will be shipped from Saturday. Loading will end on 3rd July, he added, without expanding further on details.
Mawien Makol Arik, Spokesman of South Sudan's Foreign Ministry, has emphasised that oil is still flowing to Port Sudan, despite the Sudanese threat.
Abu Bakr Saddiq, Spokesman for Sudan's Foreign Ministry, said he had no information on any loading. He also stated that oil cargos that had arrived in the pipelines before the shutdown decision were being exported.
Main source of revenue
Since Khartoum desperately needs the pipeline transit fees to make up for the loss of most its oil production since the southern secession in 2011, many analysts doubt Sudan will close the pipelines. Oil had been Khartoum's main source of revenue for the budget.
Edited from various sources by Cecilia Rehn.
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