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.
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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid