July 14, 2024

South Sudan Given Three-Week Ultimatum: Critical Oil Production Hangs in the Balance

Left to Right: General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo with South Sudan National Security Advisor General Tut Gatluak Manime.
Left to Right: General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo with South Sudan National Security Advisor General Tut Gatluak Manime.

Disturbing new revelations from African intelligence officials have unveiled an escalating crisis that will directly impact South Sudan’s oil resources.

Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has heavily relied on oil production as its economic lifeline. However, a recent outbreak of war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has put the country’s oil industry at risk, threatening catastrophic consequences for the young nation.

The conflict, which erupted on April 15, has seen the RSF gain significant control, including the capital city of Khartoum. Speaking exclusively to Today News Africa, African intelligence officials disclosed that the RSF has issued a three-week ultimatum to the South Sudanese government to stop providing funds to the SAF or face a complete shutdown of its oil production.

Although South Sudan produces about 170,000 barrels of oil daily, the oil has to go through Sudan to reach Port Sudan where it is loaded into cargo ships. As a result, 10,000 barrels of oil daily are given to Sudan as transportation fees. Every month, Sudan receives roughly $18 million dollars from South Sudan’s oil.

The latest ultimatum places South Sudan’s leadership in an unenviable position, as any decision made within the timeframe will likely lead to severe repercussions. The RSF’s control over crucial oil infrastructure, including the pipelines and pumping stations, grants them significant leverage in the dispute.

To comprehend the gravity of the situation, it is crucial to understand the intricacies of South Sudan’s oil industry. The oil fields are spread across two states in South Sudan, with two pipelines converging at the Heglig oil pumping stations, located in the Kordofan state of Sudan controlled by the RSF. Heglig is where the oil from South Sudan’s fields is channeled into a pipeline that leads to Port Sudan for export.

While the RSF controls the pumping stations at Heglig, the Sudanese army holds authority over the outlet where the oil is loaded onto cargo ships.

The RSF’s demand that South Sudan stop providing funds to the SAF presents a critical conundrum. If South Sudan complies, the SAF may retaliate by preventing the export of South Sudan’s oil through Port Sudan, effectively choking the nation’s economic lifeline. On the other hand, if South Sudan continues to provide funds to SAF, the RSF threatens to shut down the pumping station at Heglig, impeding the flow of oil to Port Sudan.

The dire situation faced by South Sudan is exacerbated by the SAF’s control over Port Sudan, which serves as the primary export hub for the country’s oil. With the potential loss of this critical facility, South Sudan’s oil production would come to a grinding halt, triggering a multifaceted crisis with far-reaching implications.

The implications are far-reaching not only for South Sudan but also for the stability of the region. The disruption of oil production would exacerbate the already fragile security situation, potentially leading to further conflict and instability within the country. Furthermore, the economic fallout would have severe consequences for the government’s ability to provide essential services to its people.

While these revelations are being officially published for the first time, the gravity of the situation cannot be understated. Today News Africa has been granted exclusive access to the top-secret information by African intelligence officials, and insights from those officials detail why the war in Sudan may soon become a regional conflict involving other actors. For instance, South Sudan may be forced to seek the protection of its pipelines and oil infrastructure in Sudan.

In light of the rapidly deteriorating situation, it is evident that urgent diplomatic efforts and international intervention are required to avert the impending disaster. South Sudan’s government is left with limited options and must navigate a precarious path to safeguard its economic interests and ensure stability within its borders.

As developments unfold, Today News Africa will closely monitor the situation and provide updates on this developing crisis, shedding light on the challenges faced by South Sudan and the potential consequences for the region at large.

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