Oil in the Sudan

The Sudan is an extremely oil-rich country located in Africa, bordered by Egypt, Libya, Chad, Ethiopia, the Red Sea and the Central African Republic.

How rich? In 1996, Canadian Independent Arakis Energy began development of the Heglig and Unity oil fields, estimated to contain recoverable reserves of anywhere from 600 million to 1.2 BILLION barrels of oil.

Oil is the major export of the Sudan, accounting for 95% of its export revenues in 2008. In 2009, there were also announcements of natural gas discoveries in the Sudan but these have yet to be determined to be commercially viable.

The Sudan is a major hot spot in the world political situation. The Sudan has a long, rich and colorful history; it is one of the oldest civilizations in the world; being inhabited as long ago as 60,000 years ago, and having aesthetic, religious, and political ties with ancient Egypt for centuries abounding. It was ruled by Pharaohs from 590 BC to about the beginning of the 1st century AD. They raised pyramids and stelae to record the victories of their rules.

From about the 1st century AD, the Sudan became independent of Egypt and developed it's own language, both written and spoken. The people, who mainly inhabited the northern part of the Sudan, near the Red Sea were known as Nubians.

Oil and conflicting political ideologies have brought disease, death, and displacement to the people of the Sudan in recent years.

These ancient and proud peoples have been displaced, moved ruthlessly from their homes near developing oil fields, and also slain without number.

The first conflict, between the northern Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in the south finally ended, after 50 years of war, with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.

The second conflict, in Darfur, brought with it a world wide recognition of the horrors being committed in the name of oil. Internally displaced populations, and international sanctions, have recently prevented oil exploration (and exploitation) in the Darfur regions, and the sanctions have prevented some of the international investment. The fighting itself has horribly damaged the country's infrastructure and limits further development of these resources.

There is plenty of oil in the Sudan. Getting it out is the problem. The country is war-torn; millions are displaced and homeless, and the rest of the world has imposed severe economic sanctions on the Sudan government, affecting the development of oil in the Sudan.


From MBendi:

International human rights organizations have accused the Sudanese government of financing human rights abuses with oil revenues, including the mass displacement of civilians near the oil fields. Factional fighting in the south and rebel attacks on the oil infrastructure have kept oil production and exploration from reaching its full potential. Disputes over oil fuelled a civil war there which has claimed over 2 million lives, mostly from hunger and disease.

What oil revenues??? How much money are we talking???

  • In March 2005 India's Videocon Industries invested $100 million for a 76% stake in an oil field in the Sudan.
  • In March 2005 the Sudan signed a $400 million deal with White Nile Productions, an oil consortium of Malaysia and the India state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Company.
  • You get the idea.

The Sudan-a naturally beautiful world

Remants of ancient evenings in the Sudan

Now, about 20% of the people live on less than $1.25 USD per day

We, in the west, seem to believe the conflict is generated simply by oil in the Sudan and the greed of the political powers that be.

The issues are complicated by diverse ideologies between the Northern part of Sudan and the Southern part. The Northerners have Arabic and Nubian roots. The Southerners are Christian and animist Nilotes. Arabic and English are the country's two official languages. The two diverse religions and political ideologies have been at civil war for years and years, long before the discovery of oil.

However, the conflicts were finally peacefully resolved following a referendum and a new constitution in 2005. Development of the rich oil reserves made Sudan's economy the fastest-growing in the world.

Unfortunately the peace was broken by a greedy and deplorably unhumanitarian agenda on the part of the ruling National Congress, which declared itself the ONLY political party in the state and has since supported the recruitment of Arab militias in guerrilla warfare, in the conflict in Darfur. The National Congress also adopted a strict Islamic code, and mis-uses its principals to established a greedy and corrupt national military dictatorship.

Because of the thousands upon thousands of people displaced and killed, the Darfur conflict attracted worldwide attention and has been accurately described as a genocide. All in the name of oil, or Islam, depending on what you believe.

On March 4, 2008, the International Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first acting head of state to be indicted by the ICC.

The international process of law is slow, and the matter is still pending. The Sudan is still a hot spot, with active Arab militia in the role of "peacekeepers" and thousands suffering from poverty we cannot literally imagine, while the corrupt National Congress, who has all the oil contracts registered in its name, continues to line its pockets.

Severe sanctions from the Western world have been placed on the country due to alleged ties with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda. The Sudan, however, still does a booming business with The People's Republic of China and with Russia, who are its largest trading partners.

Oil in the Sudan meant being murdered or made homeless to so many people. China and Russia should be ashamed to be a party to it.

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Comments 19 comments

Alyssa Huey 4 years ago

I thiink that is relly sad i wish i could do something to help the people in need in sudan.and the pictures i have seen do not look very goo.all those people in need and homless did they lose there familys i wonder.i think that there can be volinters to buld homes and stuff for them.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment. I know you can appreciate the situation.


dnrkrishnan25 6 years ago

feeling sad....


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

The pictures tell the real story. I can't get over it...if the oil was discovered on their land in Texas, it'd be a great cause for celebration. Instead, these people are starving, 3 MILLION people have died.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

I really cant find the right words to say about this hub, sometimes words just cant sum it up !


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Cris, for visiting this hub. I was interested, and researched this, and am still whole-heartedly appalled at the unbounded human greed involved in this situation, and so sorry for the loss of literally MILLIONS of people, who were, once upon a time, peaceful farmers.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

And you'd think where there's oil, there's prosperity for everyone. Unfortunately, where's there's oil, there's blood.

Thank you for shedding light on a very dark subject.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Sweetie Pie and Cheaptrick, thanks so much for visiting this hub. We do what we can to raise public awareness, and now there are pressing humanitarian reasons as well as ecological and economic reason to GO GREEN!!!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

It is truly sad what is happening in Sudan, but I do appreciate that you have included some pictures of the beautiful countryside there.


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

Hello Paradise.I am ashamed to say I was unaware of how bad things were in Dar fur.

So many obscene human rights violations are happening in the world we become unable to learn of them except bit by bit.

It drains the soul...thank you.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Veronica, for your comment, so well-expressed and exactly what I feel!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

I have no words for the deplorable conditions these poor people have to go through, and all due to greed! It just goes to show you, that the love of money is definetly the root of all sorts of injurious things - and these poor displaced farmers, disfigured boys and men, suffering women and girls, are all feeling the backlash of what mans greed can do. The fact that they live off of a measly $1.25 per day, is mind-boggling.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, suziecat, scarytaff and Micky for your insightful and well-spoken comments. I couldn't agree more. And I don't know what the answer is, either, or how to change it so the people are saved.

You know, in America, if someone discovered oil on my property, I'd be RICH! Instead, these poor farmers are displaced, left to starve, and the Arab militia cuts off the right arms of boys and men.

What to do? I don't know and sincerely wish I did.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Thank you Paradise7 for a sad story but one that needs telling. People don't seem to matter when money is involved. Thanks


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Corruption rules in many African countries. Nigeria, Angola,Congo,to name a few. The money realised from this great asset,oil, is stolen by politicians and businessmen, petty officials and the like. No one knows what the answer is to this huge problem.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

What a shame. Oil has been the cause of countless heartbreak. Great Hub.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Advisor, it is SUCH a shame! I thought our government was somewhat corrupt and incompetent but NOTHING like that government--oil-rich and millions of people dead or dying from poverty, displaced from their homes with no livelihood. What a crying shame!

Dohn, your great heart can appreciate what these people are going through. The people themselves are not political; they are displaced farmers, mostly, and with a centuries-old tradition of non-violence.

The country itself is wealthy enough with oil so that the condition of these people is a shame and heartbreaking travesty. The indictment of the International Criminal Court and United Nations sanctions (Sudan is a member of the United Nations), combined, may eventually be enough to tip the scales and see justice done. I hope so, too.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

It's so disheartening to learn of the travesties of this world, where there is so much in abundance but not enough means for it to be shared albeit equally (and no, I don't mean Communism or Socialism as a form of solution). Your pics certainly struck a cord with me. Thank you so much for sharing this with me as I wasn't aware of the situation in Sudan. I hope that things will change for the better with the help of the ICC.

Dohn


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing

Definitely heart-wrenching pictures of those kids!

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