More oil fields shut down in South Sudan as anti-government forces overrun government strongholds

More oil fields shut down in South Sudan as anti-government forces overrun government strongholds

Unity oil field worker PSUnity oil fields, sized by the anti-government forces a few days after the conflict broke out in Juba in December, 2013. Photo: Gurtong|File(Nyamilepedia)

February 21, 2014 [JUBA] — Oil companies in Upper Nile State have begun shutting down production at two oil fields as a ‘precaution’ over reports of an advance by opposition fighters north from Malakal toward the fields.

“The state government told companies to shut down production at the Gumri and Adar oil fields,” the state oil minister told Bloomberg news in a report, “South Sudan Evacuating Foreign Workers From Oil-Rich State.”

Upper Nile Mining and Petroleum Minister Francis Ayul said in a phone interview on Friday that the reason for the shutdown was “security precautions.”

He explained, “Some of the foreign engineers have been given priority to go back” to the national capital, Juba. “Some of the workers will remain in the field to monitor and maintain facilities.”

Meanwhile, opposition forces have moved north from Malakal into Akoka County, on the road between Malakal and the main oil installations at Paloich, according to an eyewitness.

Speaking by phone, one of the leaders of the forces of Riek Machar told Radio Tamazuj they took control of Akoka by mid-day Friday, adding that they are advaincing north toward Paloich.

“Akoka has fallen already. It’s in our hands,” he said, saying that this happened at around 12:00 or 12:30 today.

Related coverage:

Oil ministry: Technical problems at Upper Nile fields (20 Feb.)

At least 150 wounded in Malakal, patients allegedly killed (20 Feb.)

SPLA general wounded in Malakal fighting (19 Feb.)

Malakal overrun third time by opposition fighters (18 Feb.)

UNMISS says ten dead during Malakal compound attacks (18 Feb.)

Nasser officials seizing all vehicles in the county (18 Feb.)

Clashes in Baliet east of Malakal (17 Feb.)

Opposition fighters launch attacks near Malakal (13 Feb.)

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