South Sudan might be forced to stop producing oil because storage capacity is limited, a minister said after Sudan blocked oil exports from its neighbor.
Khartoum this week said it wasn't going to export the 200,000 barrels per day produced by South Sudan, forcing China to step into the regional embargo.
Beijing called on the Sudanese government to end the blockade since it is the largest buyer of crude oil from the region and the move affected its tankers first.
"Maintaining normal production of oil is important to both South Sudan and Sudan," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. "We hope north and South Sudan can stay rational, show restraint and resolve relevant problems through neighborly pragmatism and friendly talks."
Energy analysts told the Financial Times that although crude oil from the region represents only a fraction of the oil market, supplies are strained as markets try to recover from outages from the war in Libya and declining output from Syria.
Arkangelo Okwang, an energy official in South Sudan, told the Financial Times further action from Khartoum might force his country to cut output because its own storage capacity is limited.
"That will be a disaster if we are forced to stop production," he was quoted as saying.