Sudan has lost about 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude output – roughly a third of its total production – after South Sudan took control of the oil-producing Heglig border region, an oil official told Reuters on Wednesday.
Officials have previously said production at the vital Heglig oilfield had stopped after the South seized the area in escalating border clashes last week, but had not given figures.
State Oil Minister Ishaq Adam Gamaa told Reuters Sudan’s oil output had fallen “about 40,000 barrels per day,” bringing the country’s remaining output to about 75,000 bpd. “The loss is around 30 percent, actually,” he said.
Heglig was pumping about 60,000 bpd before the fighting, according to officials there.
Gamaa said some production had been “diverted”, without elaborating.
The loss of Heglig came as a shock to many Sudanese and motorists formed long lines at Khartoum filling stations for two days after news of the attack spread through the capital.
Both sides lay claim to Heglig, but Sudan had controlled it since the country split in two. South Sudan seized it last week, drawing widespread condemnation and calls for it to withdraw.
South Sudan has accused Sudan of bombing facilities at the field “to rubble.” Sudan has repeatedly denied the claim, blaming any damage on the South’s forces.
Gamaa said Heglig’s facilities had been closed “perfectly” in technical terms before the fighting, but said he did not have any information about damage caused in recent fighting.
Landlocked South Sudan took about three quarters of the formerly united country’s oil output when it seceded in July.
But the new nation shut down its production of about 350,000 bpd in January in a dispute with Khartoum over how much it should pay to export crude via pipelines, a Red Sea port and other infrastructure in Sudan.
Both countries are facing rising prices and foreign currency shortages as a result of the loss of oil revenues.