A Texas company could start building an oil pipeline from South Sudan through Ethiopia to Djibouti within the next six months, a South Sudanese official said.
Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudan's information minister, said an unidentified Texas company could start working on a new oil pipeline in six months, the independent Sudan Tribune reports.
The announcement followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the South Sudanese and Ethiopian governments to build a pipeline though Djibouti.
Land-locked South Sudan is in a political row with Sudan's government over transit fees for oil. South Sudan gained control over most of the region's oil reserves when it became an independent country in July, though it relies on export pipelines through Sudan.
Former Sudanese Oil Minister Lual Deng suggested last week it might be easier for South Sudan to ship its oil through to Djibouti than to Sudanese ports on the Red Sea. The Sudanese newspaper reported Djibouti's position on the MOU was unclear.
South Sudan said in January it was closing oil production in response to the oil-transit dispute. Negotiations, hosted by the African Union, have failed to find a resolution to the oil row.