A tripartite agreement was reached late afternoon on Tuesday that will enable South Sudan to start exporting crude oil through ports in Djibouti, crossing inland Ethiopia, sources disclosed to Fortune. Representatives from the three countries have signed a memorandum of understanding at the Addis Abeba Hilton on March 12, 2013.
Abrahame Tekeste (PhD), state minister for Finance & Economic Development; Elizabeth James Bol, deputy minister of Petroleum & Mining for South Sudan; and Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Ports & Free Zones Authority of Djibouti, have negotiated the deal that lets South Sudan export crude oil, transporting it with trucks all the way to the Red Sea Port of Douraleh. If carried out accordingly, South Sudan will start supplying crude oil to the world market beginning July 2013, sources familiar with the deal disclosed.
South Sudan had stopped exporting oil for over a year after its fallout with North Sudan over disagreements on border issues and fees the North used to charge for letting the South use its oil pipelines and facilities. Although leaders of both countries signed an agreement in Addis Abeba late last year, experts foresaw the reopening of pipelines taking more time than originally anticipated. Exporting crude oil by trucks through Djibouti is designed as a temporary response until the pipelines are reopened for service, a senior official from South Sudan told Fortune.