JUBA, Dec 24 (Reuters) - South Sudan's oil production has fallen by 45,000 barrels per day to 200,000 bpd after oilfields in Unity state shut down due to fighting, the petroleum minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
"We have temporarily shut down oil production in Unity state, which was producing 45,000 barrels of oil per day," Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said by telephone.
Unity has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the 10-day-old conflict and much of the state has been seized by rebels allied to former Vice President Riek Machar.
Dau said workers had been evacuated from Unity's oilfields. Officials last week said at least 16 people were killed in fighting between South Sudanese oil workers of opposing ethnic groups at Unity and Thar Jath oilfields in the state.
Dau said production in Upper Nile state, where most of South Sudan's oil is extracted, remained safe and outside the reach of rebels.
"We remain with Upper Nile (state), which is producing 200,000 barrels per day," he added. (Reporting by Carl Odera; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Jason Neely and Dale Hudson)