June 29, 2013, (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s oil minister, Awad Ahmed al-Jaz, has asserted the difficulty of building a new pipeline to transfer South Sudan’s oil through another country and said that it is not cost effective because the south needs two pipelines not a single line.
- Sudan Oil Minister Awad Al Jazz speaks during a news conference June 14, 2013 (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Al-Jaz, who was briefing the Sudanese community in Beijing, accused unidentified bodies of benefiting from the call for building a pipeline to transfer South Sudan’s oil, listing the natural, geographical, and security obstacles which hinders the construction of a new pipeline.
He claimed that some entities are appealing to South Sudan to replace the Chinese, Malaysian and Indian oil companies with western companies.
South Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by the companies that did deals with Khartoum before secession in 2011, with China, Malaysia and India besides France’s Total which holds a large but unexploited concession in Jonglei state.
Last Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Juba, Susan Page said that companies from her country were interested in investing in South Sudan’s oil.
US sanctions currently in place prevent any such move though former special envoy Princeton Lyman said in 2011 that Washington is seeking to lift them without breaching sanctions imposed against its northern neighbor.
The Sudanese oil minister further said that Sudan’s government has approved the African Union (AU) proposal to settle the dispute between Khartoum and Juba, pointing that his country supports resumption of oil flow for the benefit of all parties provided that cooperation agreements between the two countries are fully implemented.
In an exclusive interview with the New China News Agency (Xinhua) in Beijing, the Sudanese official also praised Chinese efforts to normalize relations between Khartoum and Juba, calling upon China to push towards the implementation of the cooperation agreements between the two countries.
In September of last year, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among others.
Last March, the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements.
Earlier this month, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir publicly ordered al-Jaz to immediately shut down the pipelines carrying Juba’s oil for exporting accusing it of supporting rebel groups.
In the wake of Sudan’s decision to block flow of southern oil, the Chinese special envoy to Africa Zhong Jianhua held talks in Khartoum and Juba to end the fresh crisis.
He expressed his country’s desire to develop relations between Khartoum and Juba and said that there are efforts underway to come up with firm solutions to help sustain the agreements signed.