News / Africa

South Sudan Oil Still not Flowing

People pass by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in Juba, November 7, 2012.
People pass by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in Juba, November 7, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Hannah McNeish
— South Sudan is blaming Sudan for preventing it from restarting oil production, which was  halted ten months ago in a dispute between the former civil war foes that nearly took them back to all-out war.

A September deal was supposed to see the southern oil start flowing north again, saving both economies which are in dire straits. But as South Sudan President Salva Kiir told crowds, the lifeline to both economies is still dangling.

Supporters of South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a rally in Melut County, Upper Nile state, November 20, 2012. (H. McNeish/VOA)Supporters of South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a rally in Melut County, Upper Nile state, November 20, 2012. (H. McNeish/VOA)
x
Supporters of South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a rally in Melut County, Upper Nile state, November 20, 2012. (H. McNeish/VOA)
Supporters of South Sudan President Salva Kiir at a rally in Melut County, Upper Nile state, November 20, 2012. (H. McNeish/VOA)
Crowds of people danced, sung and beat drums Tuesday at a rally to welcome South Sudan President Salva Kiir on his first visit to oil-producing Melut County, in Upper Nile state.

Kiir had hoped his visit to this border region would mark the resumption of oil production after a ten-month shutdown that has left South Sudan’s fledgling economy in ruins.

Sudan and South Sudan signed a deal in September to resolve a dispute over fees the South pays Khartoum to export its crude through pipelines, refineries, and a port in the north.

But Kiir said that Khartoum had now demanded that South Sudan first help resolve conflicts across the border in Blue Nile and in the Nuba Mountains.

"We were supposed to restart oil production on November 15, five days ago," he said.   But he added "Suddenly Khartoum people changed their minds, saying that we must denounce the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile first."

New tensions

Rebels in South Kordofan - home to the ethnic Nuba people - and Blue Nile fought alongside the South during a decades-long struggle against Khartoum.

But as South Sudan seceded in July, 2011, a new war erupted in the two states between rebels and Sudan's government, after promises that rebels would be integrated into the army and for popular consultations fell apart.

Khartoum has long accused South Sudan of supporting the insurgency - a charge the South has vehemently denied. But analysts say it is part of a “proxy war” to counter Sudan’s support of militias in Southern territory.

Kiir again denied that South Sudan had a role to play in stopping the conflict, instead asserting that Sudan was hiding behind this rationale in what appears to be another example of brinkmanship between the two countries.

He says the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile are only fighting in the north in their territory and Khartoum is looking for an excuse not to restart the oil.

US urges implementation of deals

Meanwhile, the United States on Thursday urged the two sides to implement deals made in September on demilitarizing a largely undefined and oil-rich border and resuming production.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland urged the two sides - both of which have experienced rampant inflation, plummeting currencies and shortages of key goods - to resume production soon to ease the pressure on the ailing economies.

Upper Nile potential

Back at the rally, the only cause for celebration was President Kiir’s announcement that his trip was not entirely wasted.

He says he came to Upper Nile state for two reasons: First is to lay the foundation stone for and oil refinery and the second was to connect Upper Nile with old friend Ethiopia.

South Sudan hopes that a refinery in Upper Nile state could produce 10,000 barrels daily for domestic consumption.  Another refinery in its second oil-producing Unity state also aims at easing reliance on oil imports.

Meanwhile, an improved road to Ethiopia from Upper Nile’s oil fields has been discussed by ministers as a way to circumvent the pipeline through Sudan, by trucking oil all the way to the Red Sea port in Djibouti until a pipeline can be built on the same route or to Kenya’s new port in Lamu.

Kiir met with Kenya’s deputy prime minister last week to discuss the pipeline, which would cost billions and take years to build.

But until then, concerns over a continued shutdown remain high for two weakened Sudans.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid