South Sudan weighs oil pipeline options

Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:23 AM

JUBA, South Sudan, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The South Sudanese government is examining two potential routes to export crude oil to east African ports, Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said.

South Sudan shut down oil production early last year following disputes with neighboring Sudan. South Sudan gained control over much of the regional oil reserves when it became independent in 2011, though export pipelines are in Sudan.

Dau said in a statement that multilateral agreements with Ethiopia and Djibouti created a mechanism for pipeline construction from South Sudan. German and Japanese companies are conducting feasibility studies on potential routes.

"So far we have not yet chosen the route," Dau said.

Dutch energy company Vitol in October said it's completed the basic design for what it said was a small oil refinery project in South Sudan.

Border issues, ethnic conflicts and disputes over oil had threatened to derail the 2005 peace agreement that secured South Sudan's independence. Both sides approached the brink of war earlier last year following disputes over oil in the border territory of Heglig.

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