Oilwatch Africa and representatives from academia, development experts and community leaders met under the theme, Oil over Africa: Economic Boom and Burst to deliberate on the increasing oil and gas exploration, development and production projects on the African continent, and the impact on the peoples of Africa, particularly the socio-economic and environmental costs that are associated with these activities. The conference was held at Coconut Groove Regency, Accra, Ghana, 13th to 15thMay, 2012.
This is the contribution of Prof. Asim el Moghraby, Emeritus Professor of Ecology.
He began with the fact that oil exploration in the Sudan started in the 1960s by Italian AGIB. Also various Chinese and Asian companies have also succeeded in securing oil blocks in Sudan.
He emphasized that oil accounts for 98% of the country’s revenue, while other production sectors have been almost completely neglected. Adding that the recent break up of Sudan into two countries (Sudan and South Sudan) promises many uncertainties of oil proportions, there is a lot of ongoing ‘’cage rattling’’ and mudslinging on the two sides of the borders infrastructures.
Following the separation, the Sudan is about 25% smaller, covering a land mass of 1,881,000km2 instead of 2,256,000km2. This accounts for 90% of Sudanese oil specified to Republic of South Sudan. The South is landlocked and depends on the North to export its oil.
The oil conflicts of over 20 years of fighting has killed more than 2 million Sudanese and displaced another 4 million from their homes. An estimated 500,000 South Sudanese are facing expulsion from Sudan. Also, 35,000 civilians have been pushed from their homes, adding to the already bad situation for relief organizations. He said as part of the latest development, in April 2012, South Sudan seized Heglig Central Processing Facility for second time, shutting off half of Sudan’s remaining oil production.
He concluded that both countries are facing ongoing internal conflicts, severe economic problems, and the challenge of devising a new constitution.
Both countries lack working democracy, international assistance has been painstakingly slow and ineffective. It is hoped that the two Sudans will have a fresh start.
Source: OilWatch Conference-report-2012More to read on: Oil, Conflict and Sudan Sudan, War And Oil / Mark Watson Blog South Sudan civilians are trapped in conflict over oil / Washington Post Sudan / The New York Times