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JUBA (Reuters) – South Sudan has ordered oil firms to restart production of crude oil for export through Sudan, the petroleum minister said on Thursday, more than a year after the new nation shut down the industry.

The order comes after Sudan and South Sudan agreed on Friday to withdraw their troops from a border buffer zone, easing tensions and opening the way for a resumption of oil flows.

The landlocked South shut down its oil industry in January last year during a row with Khartoum over how much it should pay to export its crude through Sudan.

The new nation produced about 350,000 barrels per day of crude before the shutdown. It also depended on oil for about 98 percent of state income and for almost all of the foreign currency it uses to import food and fuel.

“South Sudan, officially, from today is giving the orders to the operators and we hope that within a short time the oil will flow,” Petroleum and Mining Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told reporters.

“Based on the previous preparation, we hope that within two to three weeks we will be able to resume and to pump the oil through the pipeline.”

He said all petroleum operations within the producing blocks 1/2/4, 3/7 and 5a were instructed to restart.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north-south civil war.



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