South Sudan, locked in a row over oil transit fees with neighbour Sudan, said it plans to build a temporary underwater oil pipeline along the Nile to deliver crude for export. The pipeline would extend from oilfields to the capital Juba where the crude would be transferred to trucks and taken on to Kenya and Djibouti, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters by telephone.
Oil provides about 98 per cent of South Sudan’s income and is vital to the impoverished country as it tries to develop infrastructure and institutions devastated by a war that killed an estimated 2 million people. South Sudan seceded last July under a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum. But peace remains uneasy at best, with the north and south deadlocked over oil transit fees that have contributed to recent high global oil prices.
Some 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude would be delivered to ports under the project, which could be completed by the end of the year, Dau said. “The temporary pipeline will be established under the water of the Nile from Tharjath up to Juba,” he said. The landlocked new nation took control of about three quarters of the unified country’s oil output of roughly 500,000 bpd, but it needs to export its crude through northern pipelines to the Red Sea port of Port Sudan.
The two nations separated without agreeing how much the south should pay to use oil facilities in the north. South Sudan, now seeking alternative routes to export its oil, plans to truck crude from oil blocks seven and three in Upper Nile state through Ethiopia to port at Djibouti, Dau said.