The Republic of Sudan has suddenly blocked the transportation of South Sudan’s crude oil to the international market. On Christmas Eve all loaded cargo was prevented from leaving, while other cargo was not allowed to load.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau said two ships carrying 1.6 million barrels of Dar Blend originating from South Sudan were stopped from leaving the port, and an additional 0.6 million Barrels of Dar Blend were prevented from loading. Yet another two more other ships were prevented from landing at Port Sudan to take possession of 1.2 million barrels of Nile Blend purchased from South Sudan. He strongly condemned the act of preventing loaded ships from leaving the port. “This is unlawful and a violation of international laws and norms.”
The Under Secretary of the Ministry of Information Garang says the blockage has caused the Government of South Sudan to lose a huge sum of money. “At the cost of $118 per barrel, the 1.6 million barrels of Nile Blend would have fetched a huge amount, while each barrel of Dar Blend would secure us $165,” he said.
Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau further accused the Government of Sudan of trying to steal the oil resources of South Sudan. The government in Khartoum ordered the foreign oil companies to divert all of South Sudan’s Nile Blend crude oil entitlements for December to the Khartoum and El Obeid refineries. They also ordered 550,000 barrels of Dar Blends Crude oil entitlement for December to be delivered to a Sudan buyer.
“What right have they got to take our oil to sell it to others? Where does this happen in the world?” asked Marial Benjamin the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
It was also reported that the Government of Sudan also intends to divert 13 percent of Dar Blend oil through its new tie-in pipeline they started constructing between the Petrodar pipeline and the Khartoum refinery.
“Any diversion of South Sudan’s oil without our consent is theft”, said Stephen Stephen Dhieu Dau. “And what right do they have to divert our oil to their refineries”? Marial Benjamin questioned.
To this day, it is not yet clear as to what dishonest plans the Government of Sudan had for the oil it had ordered for diversion to its domestic refineries. There are speculations that Sudan planned to sell South Sudan’s oil to a third party or attempted to "launder" the stolen oil by redirecting it to its own refinery and instead selling its own crude on the world market.
The Government of South Sudan vows to take legal actions against anyone who purchases Sudan’s crude while South Sudan’s oil is being stolen at the same time. “Such illegal acquisitions will find no refuge from South Sudan’s legal authorities and will enjoy no future business with South Sudan,” Stephen Dhieu Dau said.
“We are two different states and each state has got sovereignty over its own resources,” said Marial Benjamin the official spokesman of the government of South Sudan. “There is nowhere in the whole world where a country can interfere and decide on the resources of another country. [For example,] Iraq tried to invade Kuwait and take its oil. The resultant effect of which was clearly seen. If our brothers in Khartoum are thinking that they have another Kuwait which is South Sudan, then they have missed the point.”
Yobu Annet is a journalist based in South Sudan. She was recently awarded an Edward R. Murrow Fellowship.
Photo: Associated Press