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Sudan frees S Sudan`s oil tankers; dispute continu

Last Updated: Monday, January 30, 2012 - 15:48

Juba: Sudan released tankers loaded with South Sudanese oil that had been held at Port Sudan in a row over export transit fees, days after Khartoum seized crude from its new neighbour and offered it at a steeply discounted price.

Sudan`s Oil Minister Awad al-Jaz said the release came as part of efforts to reach an agreement with South Sudan on the transit fees, but so far "we don`t have any positive response from the other side”.

South Sudan has shut down oil output in protest at the seizing of the cargoes, and talks between the two to reach a settlement broke down over the weekend.

"The two tankers were freed on Sunday and they are carrying a total of 1.6 million barrels," said the industry source, declining to be identified because he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Oil is the lifeline of both countries` economies. The South controlled about 350,000 bpd of oil output when it became independent in July under a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war.

Oil provides about 98 percent of South Sudan`s income and is vital for developing an already poor country devastated by years of civil war.

China is the biggest buyer of oil from the two countries and the biggest investor in South Sudan`s oilfields.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, January 30, 2012 - 15:48

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