Dar Blend production unaffected by fighting, says traders

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South Sudan's Dar Blend crude production has remained largely unaffected by fighting that has impacted output of the country's other crude export, Nile Blend, traders say.

South Sudan's Dar Blend crude production has remained largely unaffected by fighting that has impacted output of the country's other crude export, Nile Blend, traders say.

Production of Nile Blend crude from South Sudan's Unity state remains shut since rebels halted output after the outbreak of violence in December 2013.

 

Exports of the medium, low sulfur, waxy crude have since been sourced from oil fields in neighboring Sudan's Kordofan state, which have an estimated output of 60,000 b/d.

 

South Sudan has announced plans to repair its oil facilities in Unity state, which earlier produced at 40,000-50,000 b/d, but has yet to indicate when output might resume.

 

South Sudan was expected to export an estimated 4.8 million barrels, or 171,429 per day of Dar Blend crude oil in February, up 4% from 4.6 million barrels in January, a trader with knowledge of the preliminary programme said on Wednesday.

 

A total of 600,000-barrel cargoes are scheduled for lifting in February. Dar Blend is heavy, acidic crude produced from blocks 3 and 7 in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, the source said.

 

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which holds a 41% equity stake in Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC), has issued a tender offering the first 600,000-barrel cargo for loading over February 2-3 that closes January 7.

 

CNPC is marketing the cargo on behalf of stakeholders DPOC, the operator of the Dar Blend oil field, which includes Malaysia's PETRONAS (40%), South Sudan's Nilepet (8%), China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (6%) and Egypt Kuwait Holding (3.6%).

 

Chinese state-owned CNPC is also expected to market two other jointly-held Dar Blend crude cargoes of 600,000 barrels each for loading over February 9-10 and February 25-26.

 

Apart from the three cargoes, South Sudan's Ministry of Petroleum and Mining is expected to offer a total of 3 million barrels of Dar Blend crude for February, including a 600,000-barrel cargo it jointly holds with other stakeholders. The ministry had offered 2.6 million barrels of Dar Blend crude for January.

 

The country's revenue from oil exports totaled $3.376 billion in 2014, Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau was reported saying last week. South Sudan will retain $1.711 billion of the total after paying $884 million to Sudan and repaying loans totaling $781 million.

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