Tag Archives: South Sudan oil

UN condemns attack on South Sudan base


JUBA Unknown assailants attacked a U.N. operating base in northern South Sudan overnight, showing “callous disregard” for civilians and aid workers, the head of the U.N. mission said.

The assault in the town of Leer, which lies in an oil-producing region, was repelled by Ghanaian peacekeepers. There were no reported injuries.

The assailants’ identity was not clear. David Shearer, head of the U.N. mission, said the attack overnight from Wednesday into Thursday was launched from the direction of a nearby government-held town.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the sanctity of U.N. premises,” Shearer said in a statement.

“We are here to protect and support the people of South Sudan,” he added. “It is clear the attackers have no consideration for their plight, given those who most desperately need help will suffer more because of a likely resulting delay of humanitarian aid.”

Government officials were not immediately available for a comment.

South Sudan’s main rebel force, SPLA-IO, denied any involvement.

“UNMISS (the U.N. mission) is protecting our civilians in government areas while we protect the ones in the liberated areas. Therefore, we can’t attack their base in any way,” deputy SPLA-IO spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said.

Separately on Thursday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on the Juba government to halt offensives towards Aburoc in the northern Upper Nile region, which borders Sudan, where between 35,000 and 50,000 people have sought refuge.

“Civilians in Aburoc are at serious and imminent risk of gross human rights violations, inter-ethnic violence and re-displacement,” Zeid said in a statement.

“The civilians in Aburoc have nowhere left to go, with the (army) closing in from the south and options to flee northwards severely limited and fraught with danger,” Zeid said.

Civil war erupted in South Sudan in late 2013. The fighting has forced more than 3 million people to flee their homes and plunged parts of the country into famine, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)


South Sudan deploys troops to oil area to,prepare for resumption of production

Sudan Tribune

February 16, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan has deployed more troops in preparation for the resumption oil production in areas where activities were halted as a result of the December 2013 outbreak of conflict, which badly affected production in Unity state and parts of the Upper Nile region.

A worker walks through an oil production facility in Paloch in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, on 5 May 2013 (Photo: Hannah Mcneish/AFP)

The head of Nilepet, the country’s national oil company, disclosed Thursday that government hopes production resumes after preparations are fully completed.
“The government is doing the best to ensure that there is adequate protection at the sites where oil production would resume soon in unity. Preparations are underway,” said Machar Ader Achiek.
“The security forces are on the ground to provide adequate security and to ensure the safety of the oil workers and operators”, he added.
Local authorities, Achiek said, have started sensitising communities around the area to embrace peaceful dialogue and to help government at their level to bolster security at oil installations at Tharjiath field and other sites.
“Oil is a national resource and it is when it is extracted that the government can now be able to provide services to the people. If extraction is affected, the delivery of the basic services is also affected. So the resumption of the oil production is in the interest of both the government and the communities from where it is extracted,” explained Achiek.
He added, “This is why protection of oil sites requires cooperation from the communities”.
The Sudanese government, according to the head of the state-owned oil entity, agreed to provide electricity from Heglig and to work collaboratively with the south Sudanese authorities to protect oil workers engaged in production.
Northern Liech state information minister, Lam Tungwar said the state government will do its best to help the national government provide protection to workers in the oil fields as requested by the minister of petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, when he visited the newly-created state last month.
Since its independence, South Sudan has relied on oil for all income—a situation that has significantly compounded ongoing political and economic instability due to fall in crude oil prices.
According to South Sudanese officials, production in the past reached as high as 350,000 bpd but fell after a dispute with Sudan over fees for pumping South Sudan’s crude through Sudan’s export pipeline, which led Juba to halt production in 2012.
South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to the ongoing pricing disputes.

South Sudan – fresh clashes near Malakal oil hub


By Denis Dumo | JUBA

Fresh clashes broke out around South Sudan’s second-largest city of Malakal on Tuesday, a rebel spokesman and a government official said, the latest turn in the struggle for the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile region.

The United Nations said Malakal, on the banks of the White Nile near the country’s northern border with Sudan, was largely deserted after civilians fled the fighting.

“The rebels had been trying to provoke the SPLA all this time because the SPLA has been given instruction not to wage offensives against the rebel forces,” said military spokesman Colonel Santo Domic Chol, using the acronym for the military, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

“This is in line with the call by the president for the national dialogue,” he added, referring to a presidential directive on dealing with the rebels.

But rebel spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said government troops launched several attacks on rebel positions early on Tuesday.

“In the fight this morning, Juba regime suffered heavy losses in human and material, as bodies of the Juba regime soldiers lie everywhere,” he said in a press statement.

Neither Chol nor Deng had casualty figures.

Civil war broke out in 2013 in South Sudan after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy president, Riek Machar, from the Nuer ethnic group.

An internationally brokered ceasefire returned Machar to his position but broke down in July after a gunfight between the two sides in the capital. Machar and some of his fighters fled the country on foot in August, pursued by helicopter gunships.

Sporadic fighting between the rebels and government forces broke out in Malakal a week ago, forcing officials to close the airport. On Friday, Chol told Reuters that 10 rebels had been killed in fighting in Ditang, near Malakal.

The area around the city is a stronghold of Johnson Olony, a militia leader from the Shilluk ethnic group who was appointed an army general when he agreed to join the government in 2013. In April 2015, he announced he was deserting the military to join the rebels.

The civil war has driven more than 3 million people from their homes.

(Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

South Sudan – no surprise that elites have enriched themselves through war


South Sudan’s political and military elite have made themselves rich while the country has struggled under a civil war of their making, a report says.
Commissioned by actor George Clooney, the document accuses President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar, and top generals of profiteering.
It follows the trail of money with links to the families of both Mr Kiir and Mr Machar.
Those named have not yet responded to the allegations.
The BBC is seeking comment from them.
The report’s authors spent two years collecting evidence and testimony on behalf of a new investigative unit – called The Sentry – which was co-founded by the US actor.

Entitled War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay, the report has found that “top officials ultimately responsible for mass atrocities in South Sudan have at the same time managed to accumulate fortunes, despite modest government salaries”.
“Some have been involved in questionable business deals while others have apparently received large payments from corporations doing business in South Sudan.”
A fall-out between President Kiir and former Vice-President Machar – the most powerful members of their respective Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups – led to the civil war which erupted in December 2013.

A man walks past a destroyed tanks in Juba. Photo: July 2016Image copyrightAP

The civil war that erupted in 2013 has devastated the country
Terrible atrocities have been carried out by both sides – often along ethnic lines.
Mass rape has been used as a weapon of war and United Nations reports have detailed human rights abuses.
Some 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes, and millions more need food aid.
When a peace deal between the two men fell apart amid heavy fighting of the streets of the capital Juba in July, any chance of a quick resolution to the crisis crumbled.
“This war is about rival factions of a kleptocratic network trying to gain control of the state,” said JR Mailey, the author of the report by The Sentry, which is a collaboration between The Enough Project, Not On Our Watch, and C4ADS.
It says President Kiir’s wife and at least seven of his children were linked to a whole range of businesses, and has evidence that Mr Kiir’s 12-year-old son had a 25% share in a holding company.
It says a company linked to his brother-in-law, Gen Gregory Vasili Dimitry, supplied fuel to the military while he was a senior officer.
It details business connections between Gen Vasili and the Kiirs, and says that the two families hold interests in almost two dozen companies.
“I was mostly struck by the breadth of sectors in which these top officials are involved,” said JR Mailey, the author of the report.
“We’re talking everything from airlines, to banks, oil companies, mining companies, casinos.
“It seems that a very small number of people control a large swathe of South Sudan’s economy – and many of these people are also the people that are in power,” he said.
Mr Machar is accused of dealing with a Ukrainian arms company through a Russian intermediary with multiple aliases.
“What we found on Vice-President Machar, [he] had been engaged in negotiations to sell the country’s oil production for defence products – for weapons in order to fuel his rebellion,” said Mr Mailey.
“We also found evidence that a nephew of his was involved in a violent and hostile takeover of a security company operating in South Sudan.”
New approach
Among the many details outlined in the report are pictures of luxury villas, said to be owned by politicians and generals in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Australia.
It says both President Kiir and Mr Machar have luxurious homes in the same upmarket neighbourhood of Nairobi.
Mr Clooney and John Prendergast, a human rights activist, have taken a practical interest in Sudan and South Sudan over a number of years.
Their publicity campaign helped pressure the US government to push Sudan towards the peace deal which ended decades of war, led to a referendum on self-determination, and eventually independence in 2011.

Thousands of civilians have been sheltering in a UN base in Juba
Top generals are also implicated in business deals, with large amounts of money going through their bank accounts.
Army chief of staff Gen Paul Malong Awan is accused of having close business connections to President Kiir and his family and having luxury villas.
The report says Deputy General Malek Reuben Riak, and a general sanctioned by the US, Gabriel Jok Riak, had millions of dollars passing through their foreign bank accounts, despite salaries of less than $50,000 (£37,730).
The investigative unit says it tried to get comment from each of those people named in its report – War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the Looting and Destruction of South Sudan.
“The Sentry endeavoured to contact every individual and entity… in most cases they did not respond,” the report said.
It recommends using a “new approach to countering mass atrocities”.
“That involves using the tools of financial pressure that were developed to counter nuclear proliferation and organised crime and terrorism,” said Mr Mailey.
“We want those tools to be deployed aggressively in South Sudan. In the past these sanctions have only been applied in a piecemeal fashion and we think sanctions need to be accompanied by robust anti-money laundering measures,” he said.
An expanded international peacekeeping force for South Sudan is due to help bring a peace deal back on track, but there’s little confidence the crisis – affecting so many millions of people – will be resolved any time soon.


South Sudan – plans for major spending boost to help heal divisions


By Denis Dumo | JUBA

South Sudan’s cabinet wants to almost triple spending in the next budget, as it hopes to stabilise the fledgling country that has flirted with civil war.

However, with earnings from its main asset – oil – heavily disrupted, it was unclear how the government could finance such a level of spending.

The cabinet approved a budget proposal for the 2016/17 fiscal year that caps government spending at 29.6 billion South Sudan pounds ($520 million), a 187 percent rise over the year that ended on June 30.

The world’s newest country has been ravaged by war since December 2013, when soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed in the capital Juba with troops loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar.

A shaky peace deal was agreed a year ago, but it was frequently violated.

Machar returned to Juba as deputy president in April but Kiir appointed a new deputy to replace him in late July, when he left the capital after street battles between rival troops.

The fighting has hurt oil production, a major source of revenue, which has also been hit by falling prices. The economy has been battered, driving prices higher. Inflation has surged in July to reach an annual rate of 661.3 percent.

“This (budget) increase, estimated to be 187 percent, comes of course as a result of so many factors including the implementation of the (peace) agreement,” Michael Makuei, Information Minister and Government spokesman, told a news conference late on Wednesday.

“Objective number one was the consolidation of peace by prioritising the financing of the agreement. Number two, to restore confidence in local markets by improving key economic indicators: economic growth, employment, inflation and exchange rate,” Makuei said.

Makuei said the ceiling was a proposal and the finance ministry and other ministries would work out the final details before the budget is brought to parliament for approval at a date yet to be decided.

He did not say what the sources of funding would be but in the past oil has accounted for most of its revenues. Juba has also taken loans from Chinese companies, offering to pay them back with future oil proceeds.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Deng Alor said the country planned to ask China for a $1.9 billion loan – a sum equal to more than a fifth of its national output – to be used for infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges.

($1 = 56.90 South Sudanese pounds)

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Toby Chopra)

South Sudan asks for Khartoum technical assistance to resume oil production

Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan FVP Taban Deng Gai (R) holds a press conference after his meeting with President of Sudan Omer al-Bashir at Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan on August 22, 2016. (Photo Anadolu Agency AFP)
August 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said that his country has asked Khartoum to provide technical assistance to restart oil production from oil fields in Unity area.

Unity oil fields have been shut down since 2014 due to the fighting between the government and SPLM-IO troops. The lack of oil revenue affected the fragile economy of the new state as it depends entirely on crude exports.

South Sudan Petroleum Minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth on 18 August discussed the resumption of oil production with the Chinese ambassador in Juba and the return of Chinese oil worker to South Sudan.

Following his meeting with President Omer al-Bashir on Monday; Gai told reporters that the two countries to cooperate together in the oil production and Sudan will provide assistance to increase the production of Upper Nile fields and the resumption of oil production in the Unity region.

The South Sudanese first vice-president announced the outcome of a meeting the South Sudanese Oil Minister Gatkuoth held on Monday with his Sudanese counterpart Mohamed Zayed Awad.

The two ministers discussed the oil agreement between the two countries – as the two countries had previously agreed to review oil transit fees – the increase of oil production in Upper Nile area and the resumption of oil production in Unity area.

In statements after the meeting, Awad announced the commitment of the Sudanese government to support and assist the South Sudan to increase oil production, to resume oil production from Unity wells and to review the oil transit fee agreement.

Following the fall of oil prices, Juba asked for the revision of an agreement reached in September 2012 . The deal provides to pay to Khartoum $9.10 for the oil produced in Upper Nile state and $11 for that of Unity state which produces some 20% of South Sudan’s oil.

In January 2016, Sudan gave its agreement in principle to reduce it; but technical teams didn’t reach an agreement due to the delay in their works. Also, Khartoum resumed accusation against Juba of support to Sudanese rebel groups.

Minister Gatkuoth said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, and appreciated Sudan’s readiness to cooperate with his country in oil industry and production.

“We are here to open a new page of cooperation and bring a shift in the oil production for the benefit of the two peoples,” he said.

South Sudan – MPs summon Finance Minister and Bank governor to explain economic decline

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan lawmakers have requested the finance minister and Central Bank Governor to appear before the national assembly on Wednesday in relation to what they described as poor handling of the economy resulting into high market prices.

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South Sudanese MPs stand during a parliamentary session in Juba on 31 August 2011 (AFP)

Legislators, after a lengthy and heated debate, voted unanimously to seek answers from the two monetary institutions in the country.

“Right now, the prices are skyrocketing in the market and civil servants and soldiers have not received the pay increase promised [by the executives in January],” said Tulio Ayahu, the government chief whip in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

Ayahu also backed a proposal by the assembly’s business committee to form an ad-hoc body to handle the economic crisis.

This ad-hoc committee, he said, will coordinate efforts to address the management of auctioned dollars to commercial banks, regulate prices, monitor customs works and report to parliament.

The leader of minority in South Sudan parliament, however, rejected the proposal.

“We are supposed to discuss the problem of skyrocketing prices in the market but I am surprised that I am not seeing the minister of finance and the governor of central bank here,” said Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, accusing his counterparts of failing to tackle real issues.

The agricultural committee chairperson, Pascal Bandindi said the ad-hoc committee will intervene in the macroeconomic welfare of the country in monetary and physical policies, examine constraints affecting the smooth collection of the non-oil revenue, ensure discipline in budgetary expenditure, oversight on monitory performances and examine areas of investment in natural resources.

Lawmakers opposed Bandindi’s proposal on an ad-hoc body, saying the parliamentary committee of finance and economic planning is capable of doing this work, rather than creating more institutions.

The legislators accused finance ministry and central bank of “poorly managing” the floating exchange rate of South Sudanese pounds against the United States dollars.

One USD now sells at 37 SSP in black markets, a rate central bank seeks to equalise.

After rejecting to form a new committee to handle the economic crisis, the MPs resolved to summon finance minister, David Deng Athorbei and Central Bank Governor, Kornelio Koryom.

“The only institutions capable of explaining the steps being taken to address the economic crisis are the minister of finance David Deng Athorbei and Governor of Central Bank,” said Oliver Benjamin, chairperson of parliament’s committee for information.