JUBA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - South Sudan’s oil revenue last year was hit by reduced output because of conflict in the African republic and the rapid decline in oil prices, petroleum minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said in a statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.
Oil is the main source of cash for South Sudan, but total oil income was $3.38 billion last year from the sale of 36.6 million barrels as output was hit by the fighting that began in December 2013 in the wake of a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than a million have fled their homes during the conflict, which also resulted in damage to some of the country’s oil fields while production at others was hit by a lack of spare parts.
Production fell by about a third to an average 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) since fighting broke out, from 245,000 bpd just before the violence erupted.
Petroleum and mining minister Dau’s statement, dated Dec. 30, said that after deducting $884 million in payments due to Sudan and loan repayments of $781 million, the government was left with $1.71 billion from its oil revenue.
“It will come as no surprise that one effect of the decrease in global oil prices is the fairly substantial reduction of revenues our nation is receiving in its sales of crude oil,” Dau said, though he gave no comparative figures for 2013.
Dau added that he is confident that crude oil production will resume in four oil blocks this year and that the ministry plans to start allocating blocks for exploration and production using an open tender process. (Reporting by Denis Dumo; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by David Goodman)