Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 13 May 2007

Sudan oil industry in American figures


By Alsir Sidahmed*

May 12, 2007 — Three figures attract the attention in the Sudan country report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) late last month because of their news value.

The first regarding proven oil reserves, which is being put this time at 5 billion barrels, ten times what the same report had about Sudan’s proven reserves a year earlier.

The second and contrary to the general perception, the top recipient of Sudan oil is not China with its billions of investments in the country’s oil industry, but Japan, which on average took 124, 000 barrels per day (bpd) last year against 99, 000 bpd for China during the same period.

The third figure is that the volume of domestic consumption amounted last year to 98,000, a huge jump from the 25,000-30,000 bpd the country used to consume up to the time when it joined the club of oil exporters in August 1999.

And each has its implications.

The figure on reserves puts the American view finally in line with what is prevailing in the industry. The BP Statistical Year Book, for instance, puts Sudan oil reserves at 6.4 billion. But more important are the implications. With that amount, Sudan moves to occupy the fifth position among the top African countries in terms of reserves. High on the list is Libya, followed by Nigeria, Algeria and Angola.

More significant it becomes the top non-OPEC country in the continent with that amount of reserve after Angola joined the organization earlier this year.

The significance of this fact is that non-OPEC producers play a major role in meeting around two thirds of the market needs providing currently more than 50 million bpd leaving for OPEC the rest. But since non-OPEC producers pump usually at capacity, any of them emerges with potential to pump more will be a welcomed addition.

In addition, this fact strengthens the African option, consumers led by the United States are considering to the troublesome Gulf region, where exports could be strangled if the Straits of Hormuz, where almost two thirds of world oil trade passes, is to be blocked in a way or another.

As for the Japan being the top recipient of Sudan oil exports, it simply emphasizes the fact that Asia is the potential and future for exporters to target. More than half of OPEC production now is Asia-bound. After all it is the continent with high population growth, economic growth and before that it lacks enough oil resources to meet its needs. Indonesia, the only OPEC member from Asia, is phasing out as its production keeps dwindling each month and was not even able to meet the quota allotted to it by OPEC.

With that in mind, it is becoming obvious that Asian countries are jockeying to secure supplies, a fact that has all sorts of economic and geopolitical ramifications and is underlined by the fact that the list of Sudan top oil recipients include in addition to Japan and China, counties India, South Korea and Indonesia.

The third figure about local consumption is worrying as it implies a high rate of growth. That is understood given years of suppressed demand. But it if left unchecked it will have dire implications on all fronts, among them its erosion of exports volume. For every barrel consumed locally omes at the expense of exports.

But this should not be taken to prove what has been advocating by some people that Sudan is being targeted by the US on Darfur because of its oil resources.

After all, Sudan by all accounts is small producer and even the elevated volume of reserves amounts to the reserve of Al-Shaybah, regarded a small field in Saudi Arabia. Also the well respected Cambridge Energy Associates did not include Sudan in its list of six non-OPEC countries with great potential to impact the market in future.

More important, Sudan various governments were keen in getting American companies involved in developing the country’s hydrocarbon industry. At one point Occidental was involved in the negotiations that led finally to the establishment of Greater Nile Petroleum Co. It was then State Secretary Madeleine Albright that blocked the deal.

Sudan needs to sort out facts and fiction and work diligently to make use of its natural resources in a rational way.

* Alsir Sidahmed, a free lance journalist, media consultant and trainer could be reached at alsirsidahmed@gmail.com

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

South Sudan’s universities should explore other revenues 2019-03-17 20:33:06 By Ukongo Benson Athia Of recent, it transpired that the five public universities dons have advanced their cause to increase the tuition fees for the students. I have seen such complaints of (...)

Pressure from the people in Sudan 2019-03-17 10:55:35 The longer genuine political and economic reform is delayed in Sudan, the greater the risk of wider instability and deepening economic crisis. By Rosalind Marsden President Omar al-Bashir, who (...)

Sudan’s al-Bashir burnt the boats before crossing 2019-03-11 06:19:03 By Mahmoud a. Suleiman Second Military Coup D’état of Omer Bashir will Not Protect him from his inevitable fate at the hands of the uprising Sudanese people The angry uprising men, women and (...)


Latest Press Releases

Sudan Protests: Investigate the custodial death of three University students 2019-03-13 12:53:14 The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) Sudan Protests: Urgent call for investigations into the custodial death of three University students and alleged torture of detainees by (...)

The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions Joins the Declaration of Freedom and Change 2019-03-10 21:16:50 PRESS RELEASE For immediate release 10 th March 2019 The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions announced on Sunday 10th March that it was joining the revolutionary forces (...)

Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.