South Sudan eyes alternative pipelines

July 7, 2011 at 7:13 AM

JUBA, Sudan, July 7 (UPI) -- South Sudan has nothing to lose by considering building an oil pipeline link to Kenya, bypassing the north, a transport minister said.

South Sudan takes control of 75 percent of the united country's oil production of 490,000 barrels per day when it gains independence Saturday.

Both sides agreed in May that South Sudan will pay the Sudanese government in Khartoum pipeline and export related fees. Anthony Lino Makana, the roads and transport minister for South Sudan, told reporters his government was in talks with oil companies to build a link to an existing oil pipeline running through Kenya.

"We will have nothing to lose if the north refuses to allow us to hire the pipes, they will be the ones to lose," he was quoted by the Sudan Tribune as saying.

Garang Diing Akuong, South Sudan's oil minister, said the northern government was putting up road blocks in the energy sector.

"We have no problem hiring the pipes that are in the north but it is the government in the north which is complicating everything," he was quoted as saying.

Khartoum, he added, was demanding too much in discussions on how to deal with oil once the south gains formal independence.

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