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South Sudan and Russia agreed to expand energy cooperation, including in the oil sector, during a meeting of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
South Sudan, an oil producer in Africa, has several foreign firms, including Russian ones, operating in its oil industry.
In recent months, however, South Sudan has felt the impact of the civil war in Sudan, from which it seceded in 2011.
During a meeting with South Sudan’s President Kiir, Putin said, as carried by the Kremlin, “We have many favourable opportunities in many diverse fields, including energy.”
“I hope that current projects, including the construction of a refinery in your country with the assistance of a Russian company, and plans for the second phase of this project will benefit the development of our trade and economic ties,” Putin was quoted as saying.
Russia’s Safinat Group is working on an oil refinery in the Unity state in South Sudan.
Putin and Kiir also discussed regional security in light of the war in neighboring Sudan, and the South Sudanese president said, per the Kremlin release, “we need our own friends. You are one of them. We do not see any alternative besides you.”
The conflict in Sudan erupted in April when the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, took up arms against the Sudanese army in the capital Khartoum.
Sudan is the only conduit for crude oil exports out of landlocked South Sudan. The two countries export primarily Nile and Dar blends to markets in Asia from Port Sudan via the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. While most of the oil belongs to South Sudan, the two countries together exported some 132,000 bpd of crude oil in 2021.
South Sudan’s crude oil exports have climbed to their highest level in almost two years despite an ongoing war in Sudan, estimates showed last month.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.