KHARTOUM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Sudan will impose monthly fees on crude oil flowing from the newly-independent south until the two nations reach an agreement on transport payments, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir said on Wednesday, in a hardening of Sudan’s position.
Bashir, addressing a delegation from the Sudanese parliament, said landlocked South Sudan was benefiting for now from an absence of mandatory transport fees but that its stance in talks showed it was not serious about reaching an agreement.
“Because of this we had taken a unilateral decision to impose passage fees on the crude oil every month, and this is our right,” Bashir said.
South Sudan will have to pay Khartoum to use its oil pipeline and Red Sea port to ship the oil, but the two sides have been unable to hammer out details at talks in Ethiopia. The negotiations are due to resume in mid-January.
The independence of South Sudan in July last year under a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum removed two-thirds of Sudan’s 500,000 barrels per day of oil production. Oil is the main source of revenue for both governments.
South Sudan has accused Khartoum of temporarily blocking loading of crude. Sudan denies the charges.
At stake are oil sales, worth around $3 billion, that South Sudan has contracted since its independence. The companies operating in both countries are mainly Asian, such as China’s state firm CNPC. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Roger Atwood)