Oil ‘theft’ sparks Su­dan warn­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

JUBA: South Su­dan will take le­gal ac­tion against Su­dan and any com­pa­nies en­gag­ing in the “theft” of its oil exports, the coun­try’s oil min­is­ter has said.

Stephen Dhieu Dau yes­ter­day branded any sale of south­ern oil con­fis­cated by Su­dan “an il­le­gal act”, in re­sponse to Khar­toum’s an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day that it would take 23 per­cent of south­ern exports af­ter the lat­est Au-me­di­ated talks on rev­enue shar­ing col­lapsed.

South Su­dan “will not tol­er­ate any pub­lic or pri­vate party op­er­at­ing in South Su­dan or pro­vid­ing ser­vices to South Su­dan to act in any way com­plicit in the theft of South Su­dan’s oil”, he said.

Khar­toum and Juba are locked in a bit­ter row over how much the land­locked south should pay to use the north’s in­fra­struc­ture.

South Su­dan split from the north in July, tak­ing with it the vast ma­jor­ity of the former Su­dan’s oil pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity – 75 per­cent of the coun­try’s 450 000 bar­rels per day.

The north’s oil min­is­ter said on Mon­day that Khar­toum had stopped south­ern exports be­long­ing to the Juba govern­ment be­cause it owed $727 mil­lion for fees cov­er­ing July to Oc­to­ber.

Af­ter a rare in­ter­ven­tion by top buyer China, urg­ing both par­ties to “ex­er­cise re­straint”, Su­dan’s chief oil ne­go­tia­tor as­sured that exports had not stopped, but said the north would take a cut of the south’s oil as “pay­ment in kind” un­til an agree­ment on tran­sit fees was reached.

Yes­ter­day, Dhieu Dau said the south was al­ready pay­ing for the use of the north’s pipe­lines and in­fra­struc­ture, and that any claims to the con­trary were “bla­tantly false”.

“There is no eco­nomic, le­gal, or other jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the uni­lat­eral tak­ing of South Su­dan’s oil,” and the govern­ment would pur­sue any di­rect or third party in­volved in its sale, he said.

Both coun­tries de­pend heav­ily on oil rev­enues, which make up about 98 per­cent of the Juba govern­ment’s to­tal in­come.

Ten­sions be­tween the two na­tions, amid es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in the oil-pro­duc­ing bor­der re­gion and ac­cu­sa­tions by south­ern of­fi­cials that Su­dan is pro­vok­ing an “oil war”, have risen in re­cent weeks.

“The uni­lat­eral tak­ing of South Su­dan’s oil by the Su­dan would be an il­le­gal act, which would not re­sult in any ben­e­fit to the Repub­lic of Su­dan,” Dhieu Dau warned, urg­ing the north to ac­cept a $5.4bn pack­age deal on fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, oil and ter­ri­tory – Sa­paAFP

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