By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) - South Sudan is planning to increase oil production by 16,000 barrels per day, to be added to its current production of 178,000 barrels per day, an official announced on Monday.
"We have reached an agreement with Sudan to be able to produce up to 16,000 barrels a day," Petroleum Minister Awow Daniel Chuang told journalists in the capital Juba, underlining that the country was "moving very fast" to start production in currently unused oilfields.
Chuang noted that a recent oil leakage last month caused by aging pipelines was currently under control.
"It's a normal operational challenge. Production has been down for five years and it's filled with water," he said.
He said the area affected was about 400 square meters (4,300 square feet).
Chuang said the government made some progress in its last negotiations with Sudan, announcing the formation of an environmental audit committee to begin operations next week.
Last week, local communities living in oil-producing areas reported that an oil leakage had been ongoing for a month and that traces of crude oil were floating in water sources and the surrounding environment.