South Sudan may resort to trucking oil if talks fail

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:51am EST

Related Topics

* Looks for alternative in case talks with Sudan fail

* South Sudan has only 300 km of paved roads

* Oil exports vital to South Sudan's economy

KAMPALA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Landlocked South Sudan may rely on trucks to export its crude oil if talks with Sudan aimed at re-starting exports through a pipeline fail, a South Sudanese deputy minister said on Wednesday.

The African neighbours came close to war last April in the worst border clashes since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 under a 2005 deal which ended decades of civil war.

Talks failed to agree on how to withdraw troops from their disputed border after a round of talks in Ethiopia last week, delaying again the resumption of the crucial oil exports.

Mary Jervase Yak, South Sudan's deputy minister of finance and economic planning, told reporters in the Ugandan capital Kampala they were exploring the possibility of exporting crude using other means.

"If the talks fail completely then we will think of alternatives such as moving of crude by trucks. It's being considered but we're still working on infrastructure," she said on the sidelines of an oil conference.

She did not offer further details about the plan. South Sudan's economy has suffered, mainly though a shortage of dollars to finance imports, ever since exports were stopped.

South Sudan mainly imports goods through neighbouring Uganda but an underdeveloped road network connecting the two countries is a major obstacle to the trade between the two nations.

South Sudan has just 300 kilometres of paved roads. It plans to spend $4 billion over the next decade to improve its road network, the government said last August.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Duncan Miriri and William Hardy)

FILED UNDER: