The Sudanese government and rebel groups in control of the country’s south signed an interim deal last week that is hoped to bring an end to a 20-year civil war that has cost two million lives. Following the signing of the agreement, US companies hurried to issue oil exploration inquiries with the government of Sudan.
The end of Sudan’s civil war is expected to encourage Western oil companies to resume operations in the vastly unexplored North African country. The Republic seeks in turn to benefit from expanding its oil industry and opening new international lending opportunities.
A war for oil has been waged in the Sudan since 1983, part of the decade-long civil war between the north and the south. International human rights organizations have accused the Sudanese government of clearing the oil-rich regions of civilians, in order to make way for the exploration of oil by foreign companies, thus asserting that the foreigners’ presence is fuelling the war.
Sudan currently produces over 81.9 million barrels of oil annually and is striving to reach 146 million barrels per annum. Based on exploration completed to date, Sudan's proven reserves of crude oil are estimated at no more than 270 million barrels.
When further talks take place next month, the two sides are expected to discuss other key issues such as power-sharing and how to allocate revenues from oil fields in the south. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )