Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday, citing a top official at the national oil company.

The official made this comment a day after the government signed an agreement with Sudan signaling their commitment to resuming shipments from the South through Sudanese pipelines, the respected financial daily reported.

A May resumption of exports is “within the spectrum and that is expected,” said the official, who asked WSJ not to name him, as oil production hadn’t restarted yet.

The official said the national oil company, Nilepet, could gradually restart oil flows at short notice, but some uncertainties remain since the company hasn’t yet received an official order to resume production.

“More technical discussion has to take place prior to the startup,” WSJ quoted the official as having said.

Analysts and traders have been doubtful at the pace with which South Sudan could begin oil exports through war-damaged oil facilities.

The International Energy Agency said Wednesday in its monthly report on oil markets that South Sudanese production could restart as soon as May, one month earlier than it had previously forecast.

It said production could reach about 220.000 barrels a day by the end of the year, still below the country’s pre-independence capacity of 350.000 barrels a day.

It is understood that officials on Tuesday said Sudan and South Sudan had reached a deal that could see crude shipments from South Sudan start flowing through Sudanese pipelines and ports within two weeks.

South Sudan last January stopped its crude oil shipments, estimated at roughly 350.000 barrels a day. This was right in the middle of a fight with its northern neighbor over oil transit fees and a border dispute.

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