First South Sudan oil cargo to reach Sudan facility next week - SUNA

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - South Sudan's first oil cargo will reach an export processing facility in Sudan next week, Sudan's oil minister said in remarks published by state media on Monday.

Landlocked South Sudan shut down its entire production of 350,000 barrels a day in January 2012 after failing to agree with Sudan over oil fees, throwing both nations into turmoil. The new nation, which seceded from Sudan in 2011, needs to export its oil through Sudan.

After months of negotiations, the African neighbours agreed last month to resume cross-border oil flows.

The first cargo from the Thar Jath oilfield in South Sudan's Unity state will reach the Sudanese processing facility in Heglig next week, Sudan's Oil Minister Awad al-Jaz told state news agency SUNA.

In Heglig, which was damaged during border fighting between the two armies last year, water is removed from the oil before the oil is sent through a pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Thar Jath was the first field where South Sudan restarted production earlier this month.

"The oil facilities are ready and intact for oil transit flows," Jaz said, according to SUNA. He said oil operator China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), which runs Heglig, had been informed about the planned first cargo from South Sudan.

He gave no production details.

South Sudan expected an initial oil output of between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) by April 15, an oil official said earlier this month.

Both countries, which came close to returning to war a year ago, depend heavily on crude exports for state revenues and use the foreign currency to import food and fuel.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 under a 2005 peace deal which ended one of Africa's longest civil wars. However, the two remain at loggerheads over control of disputed territories and other issues.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; editing by Jim Marshall)