South Sudan oil production has dropped to 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 185,000 bpd due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, said a senior official on Friday.

Awow Daniel Chuang, undersecretary in the ministry of petroleum, disclosed that the drop in production is the result of global economic slowdown due to COVID-19 that has seen oil prices drop to about 40 U.S dollars.

“COVID-19 and slowdown of the economy have caused South Sudan a lot of problems and you know that South Sudan depends on oil heavily. So when the production drops and the global oil price drops as well, it becomes a significant loss to the government,” Chuang told journalists in Juba.

Chuang disclosed that as a result of this situation, the government has not been earning enough oil revenue.

He added that the pandemic has also disrupted transportation of logistics and consignment to the northern oil fields in Upper Nile and Unity states respectively, hence affecting production.

“In the last few months, we experienced fighting that had never been there before and We are now at loss and all our partners that are working and investing in South Sudan are in loss,” Chuang said.

“The seaports in Sudan and probably in Kenya were not properly functioning which means the delay in delivery of the critical materials that are needed in the oil fields. Some of the rigs were put off as a matter of that,” said Chuang.

He disclosed that production in Upper Nile reduced from 130,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd and in Unity state it dropped from 60,000 to 50,000 bpd.

Chuang noted that production is bound to drop amid low global oil prices as oil-producing countries tend to cut production.

“We used to be around 185,000 and almost reaching 190,000 bpd by the beginning of this year, but because of this slowdown, it has affected the projection that we had. So with the ease of lockdown, I think we should be able to come up,” he said.