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South Sudan resumes oil production from Unity oil fields

January 8, 2019 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s damaged oil wells in the Unity region have partially resumed the direly-needed production announced Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth on Tuesday.

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Oil mining employees walk near the first well to restart production in the Thar Jath field in Unity state on 6 April 2013 (HANNAH MCNEISH/AFP/Getty Images)

Last November Sudanese Oil Minister Azhary Abdel-Gadir announced the delay of oil production in Thar Jath block 5A until May 2019 instead of the end of December.

Sudanese oil workers who started the reparation works found that the rate of acid in oil wells that stopped production five years ago was very high. So, before to resume production they need to reduce this acid which will induce severe corrosion on the entire installations including the pipeline.

Speaking to reporters in Juba, the minister said he gave the green light for the first phase resumption of oil production on 31 December in five of 16 oil wells.

"The initial target of the oil production at Phase One will be 20,000 bpd (barrels per day)," the minister said.

He further pointed that his Sudanese counterpart, Abdel-Gadir will join him to launch the resumption of oil production in the area on 21 January.

Last November Gatkuoth said Thar Jath fields produce only 5,000 barrels per day due to the high rate of acid in the oil.

The Thar Jath oilfield, which has stopped its production after the eruption of the civil war in December 2013, is expected to pump over 45,000 barrels per day.

South Sudan prior to the outbreak of conflict in December 2013, produced some 350,000 bpd before it declined to less than 160,000 bpd due to the devastation caused by conflict on the oil fields.