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South Sudan’s oil output has increased to 180,000 barrels per day (bpd), petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said on Thursday.

Gatkuoth said the increase was attained following resumption of oil production at El Toor oilfield on Thursday. The newly reopened oilfield is projected to start pumping at least 5,000 bpd from six wells.

“Today (Thursday), we managed to resume oil production at Al-Toor oilfield. We will continue to make sure the rest of the wells are put into production as soon as possible, Gatkuoth said in a statement.

Gatkuoth said the east African country is working to resume oil production in redundant oilfields affected by five years of civil war in order to meet its target of producing 400,000 barrels by the end of 2020.

“We want to make sure all the wells, whether in Unity, Toma South, El Toor or any other are all in production because now we are underutilizing them. We need to move quickly because the oil price is good and we benefit from the oil,” Gatkuoth said.

The increase is part of South Sudan’s plan to boost daily production by 70,000 barrels by June.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for around 60 percent of its gross domestic product.

But after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production declined from 350,000 in 2011 to less than 130,000 barrels per day in 2014 amid soaring inflation.

Following the signing of a new peace deal in September 2018, conflict has reduced and previously closed oilfields have reopened, increasing output.

In June 2018, South Sudan and neighboring Sudan agreed to deploy a joint security force to secure oil installations and jointly repair oil infrastructure damaged during South Sudan’s civil war. Enditem

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