South Sudan and Sudan fought one of Africa’s longest civil wars but in March they agreed to resume cross-border oil flows. Although tensions have existed since the south seceded in 2011, Reuters reports that South Sudan expects its first oil to arrive from Sudan’s export port in mid-June.
“The oil is flowing… We expect it to arrive on the 13th, 14th or 15th in Port Sudan,” South Sudan’s ambassador to Sudan, Mayan Dut Wol told Reuters, adding it would be loaded on vessels around June 20.
Since the agreement was made, South Sudan began to pipe oil to two treatment plants in Sudan to be prepared for exports. This marks the first time this has happened since the landlocked new nation ceased production in January 2012 in a row over export fees. At that time it was producing 350,000 barrels a day.
But the new developments are not without problems and controversy. “Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir threatened to close the export pipelines if South Sudan supported insurgents operating on Sudanese soil, claims long denied by Juba,”reported Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz of Reuters.
Dut Wol wasn’t troubled by Bashir’s speech, however, and described it as an “emotional” outburst.
Bilateral meetings between the two countries continue and they have been ironing out details on oil, trade and border security deals signed earlier this year.