Oil industry in Sudan has passed through different stages, our economic page Business and Finance is to publish
a serial of articles about oil in Sudan, it is an opportunity to follow up the historical background about oil since early time up to the present.
We provide an excellent data to those who desire to invest in oil; our page (Business and Finance) is to review one of the important researches focus on oil.
The research is conducted by Ismail S.H. Ziada under the title (Oil in Sudan) its facts and impacts on Sudanese domestic and international relations, the book comprised of 4 chapters, in the first chapter the researcher assumed historical information about oil industry in Sudan, its production, reserve and the interest of companies, in the second chapter he focused on the role of oil in igniting civil war between South Sudan, we know that oil has affected the future relation between Sudan and the newly born state in 2011.
In chapter three the research talked about the impact of oil on Sudanese US relations since 1972 till 2006, but in the fourth chapter the book reviewed Sudanese Chinese ties and the role of oil which judged the nature of the relations.
The researcher considered that oil is behind the civil war in Sudan urging the conflicted parts to realize peace for the interests of Sudan, South Sudan and the region.
The Sudanese-US relations oscillated between two extremes. In 1972 Sudan, under the Numeiri’s regime, shifted its cold war alliance from the Soviet Union and became a strategic cold war ally of the United States. Sudan became more important for the United States to counterbalance the Soviet Union influence in the region, in particular after the overthrow of the United States historical ally in Ethiopia in 1977. The Sudanese-US alliance continued until the overthrow of Numeiri’s regime in1985. Since then the Sudanese-US relations deteriorated and eventually collapsed completely in 1989 after the National Islamic Front military coup. The US policy towards Sudan became hostile and aggressive as the new Sudanese regime adopted independent policies that were against the American hegemony in the region. The new Sudanese government is to be a client of the United States, as a result of this. Up to2000, US policies towards Sudan were aimed at isolating and destabilizing the Sudanese regime in order to press it to comply with US (regional) interests. During this period the United States supported the rebel movement in the south financially. After 2000, the Bush administration adopted a different approach which was based on attempting to bring the Sudanese civil war to an end. This new approach was related to the changing political and economic realities in Sudan.
During 1972-1985 Sudan was a key ally of the United States in the region. Besides Sudan’s strategic position on the Red Sea and the United States need for allies in the region, Sudan’s vast natural resources rendered it important ally for the United States. The oil discoveries made by Chevron in late 1970’s and early 1980’s bolstered the Sudanese-American relations further. Subsequently, the United States substantially increased its military and economic assistance to Sudan. By the early 1980’s Sudan was the sixth largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the world. The US support for Numeiri’s regime provided it with the confidence that it could provoke the south by changing the internal boundaries between the north and south regions and violation of the Addis Ababa agreement. The position of the US oil company Chevron was in Connell,. 1n favor of the central government, with regard to the south-north oil disputes. Chevron signed an unpublicized contract with the Numeiri government to explore areas in the south, with a production-sharing formula with the central government alone. As a consequence of its policies Chevron’s relations with the southern Sudanese government worsened over time. The first director of Chevron maintained good relations with the southern regional government but as Abel Alier, a southern judge who was Numeiri’s vice president, said “a second Chevron group cut relations with us [the southern Sudanese] and treated us with less respect”.
Alier also indicated that Chevron was quite comfortable with Numeiri’s plans to change the south- north boundaries. It would seem logical that Chevron, in order to protect its interests in the best manner possible, should have maintained good relations with both parties. Chevron’s behavior can however be understood by taking into consideration the economic and political crisis within Sudan, the general US role and interest in it and the related interest of Chevron.
At the time that it became evident that Sudan had significant oil reserves, Sudan was suffering a deep economic crisis and Numeiri’s regime faced increasing popular anger among the general population. Control over oil was perceived by the regime as well as the United States as a tool to consolidate its position while the political and economic situation in Sudan was deteriorating. The United States interest obviously was keeping its ally, the Numeiri government, in power. Neither the Americans nor Numeiri regime seemed to expect that their policies would lead to the eruption of the civil war. The civil war forced Chevron to suspend its operation after it had invested more that one billion US Dollars. The civil war further weakened Numeiri’s regime which was eventually overthrown in 1985 and obviously had a catastrophic impact on the development and future of the country. 3.3 1985-1989 In April 1985 Numeiri’s regime was overthrown by the army after a popular uprising. One year later parliamentary elections were held and Sadiq Al-Mahdi became Prime minister. The new government’s foreign policy was neutral, a policy that was not welcomed by the United 3Verney, Peter. Raising the Stakes: Oil and Conflict in Sudan.Sudan Update. 1999. P. 12 Ibid. P 12 Ibid. P 13 Ibid. P 15 12 States. As a result the United States started reducing its economic and military support to
Sudan, and in January 1989 it was totally suspended. In spite of the deterioration of the United States relations with the Sudanese government, Chevron was willing to resume its operations in the country. It agreed with the Sudanese government to resume its operations in two years or to sell its concessions to other companies. This decision by Chevron was based on the progress of negotiations aimed at bringing the civil war to an end. At the end Chevron could not resume its operations as the hopes for a peaceful solution dashed with the overthrow of the Sadiq Al-Mahdi government in June 1989 by Al-Bashir, the current Sudanese president, and the National Islamic Front led by Hassan Al Turabi. 3.4 1989- 2000 the new Sudanese regime adopted policies that opposed the American hegemony in the region. Sudan stood with Iraq against the international American led aggression against Iraq in 1991 and started to develop its relations with Libya, Iran and China. Considering these policies as being against the American interests in the region the United States adopted an aggressive policy of isolation, containment and destabilization against the Sudanese regime with the aim of forcing the Sudanese regime to comply with the United States agenda. This approach was adopted and put in effect by the Clinton administration. In 1993 the United States put Sudan on its list of states sponsoring terrorism. In 1996 the United States supported UN Security Council resolution 1054 which imposed diplomatic sanctions on Sudan. And in 1997 the United States imposed comprehensive trade sanctions on Sudan. These aggressive policies culminated in August 1998, when the United States bombed El-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
The United States was also actively involved in the Sudanese civil war. In 1996 it provided its regional allies Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda with 20 million US$ of military equipment in order to help the SPLA At the beginning of the civil war the SPLA received military support of Libya and Ethiopia who were on the side of the Soviet Union, as the SPLA was seen to be fighting against a regime who is a client to the United States. With the regime change in Ethiopia in 1991 the SPLA lost its main ally in the region and this was reflected in the battle
Sayed A., Asser. Addawr Elamriki Fi Mushkilat Janob Asudan,”The American Role in The Southern Sudan Question”.