South Sudanese oil may arrive at Sudan's Red Sea port by the end of this week after the two nations' leaders met on Friday to resolve border issues that have been delaying the resumption of exports, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti said.
South Sudan's blocking of crossing points at Jodha and Heglig affected the flow of oil because engineers and equipment could not move freely, Mr Karti said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan's Salva Kiir met at an African Union summit.
"They agreed on upgrading the level of co-ordination on the borders to be left to ministers of defence," Mr Karti said.
South Sudan resumed crude oil production last month after it stopped pumping in January 2012, accusing neighbouring Sudan of stealing $US815 million worth of its oil, which Sudan said it had taken to recover unpaid transport and processing fees. That and other disputes, including over border security, brought the countries to the brink of war a year ago.
Oil production might be affected if the location of the two border points are not agreed upon, South Sudanese Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said.
The problem should not have prevented exports resuming after South Sudan pumped crude at the rate of as much as 150,000 barrels a day since May 3, he said. "I believe there are sufficient quantities of oil in the system for oil lifting at Port Sudan to start anyway," Mr Nhial said.
Before the stoppage, oil exports generated 98 per cent of South Sudan's revenue. The crude is pumped mainly by three companies: China National Petroleum, Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional and India's ONGC Videsh.