South Sudan is planning to increase its oil production from 130,000 to 350,000b/d despite the ongoing armed conflict, informed EBL News.

According to South Sudan’s Petroleum Minister, Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth, technical measures had been put in place to reopen oil fields in the northern Unity region, making it possible to boost national production to 350,000b/d by early January 2017, Ecofin Agency reported.

Clashes between the army and rebels over the control of oil fields have resulted in oil wells being damaged and employees being evacuated. The drop in oil production has badly damaged the country’s economy, with foreign exchange reserves now close to exhaustion and inflation soaring.

The Petroleum Minister, however, has dismissed the possibility that conflicts would continue to hinder oil output, saying that the government would make sure that there is maximum security to oil workers and pipelines.

Meanwhile, South Sudan is currently in talks with Sudan on oil transit fees, due to the collapse of oil prices. In spite of the recent rise in oil prices to over $54 per barrel, the rate still remains far from the over $100 per barrel level it was when the two countries signed the oil deal in 2013.