By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan government says that protests in Eastern Sudan have affected the flow of oil to Port Sudan, thus disrupting production in oil fields.
The protestors closed Port Sudan and the airport on Thursday leaving South Sudan stuck with its crude exports.
The protests are against a 2020 peace deal between the government and rebel groups, criticized by the Beja tribes in eastern Sudan as the agreement “marginalizes and does not represent them.”
The area’s tribal council have blocked the main road connecting Port Sudan on the Red Sea and Khartoum affecting operations at the port.
This may affected the flow of oil from South Sudan to Port Sudan where it is transferred to the international market.
Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth, said the protests that broke last week leading to the closure of oil terminals at Port Sudan have disrupted transportation of crude to international markets.
“With the closure of Port Sudan, we are not in a position to export our oil so that is another issue which shall affect us because if we don’t export oil then we will be in crisis,” Lueth told reporters after the Council of Ministers regular meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir on Friday in Juba.
South Sudan is currently producing about 154,000 barrels of crude daily.
The oil crude is for basically the day to day running of affairs in the East Africa’s youngest country.
Eastern regions, which complains marginalization, demands the cancellation of the process and the establishment of a national conference for eastern issues, which aims at approving development projects in it.
The transitional government of Sudan declared the situation in Port Sudan as a force majeure, and efforts are underway to have this issue resolved so that our oil can flow.
Port Sudan for oil export
The oil – rich South Sudan is using only Port Sudan for oil flow and export to international markets.
South Sudan relies on neighboring Sudan’s infrastructure to transport its crude for export since her independence from Sudan in 2011 after a three decades of scorched-earth civil war.
“What is happening in port Sudan is a Sudanese issue, it has nothing to do with us, we only came in because we are beneficiaries who are using the port to export our oil,” said Lueth. “If they were just to allow us, to allow our oil to flow, we would have no problem at all but our main concern comes in when our oil is blocked.”
Lueth revealed that “all the tankers in Port Sudan are full, they were supposed to be loaded into cargo ships but up to now they have not done.”
Minister Lueth further warned that “the issue may force South Sudan to shut down production of its crude”.
“So the production will have to stop because there will be nowhere where we will export our oil from and this is why we are struggling to ensure that our oil passes through Port Sudan because this is where the pipeline is.”
Lueth said the Cabinet requested Kiir to make all necessary contacts so that the oil continues to flow.
Of recently, Sudanese transitional council foiled an attempted coup allegedly by supporters of former long-time ruler Omar Al-Bashir in what it said was meant to derail the ongoing transition period following the latter’s ouster in 2019.