Sudan and South Sudan look set for a fresh oil-related face-off as the former reportedly blocks a crude shipment belonging to the latter at a key Red Sea port.
The Khartoum administration has put the skids on a shipment of some 600,000 barrels at Port Sudan after its neighbour to the south reportedly failed to pay transit fees and other duties, reports claim.
“Sudan has blocked the ship in Port Sudan, because the government of South Sudan didn’t accept the fees for using the pipeline, the refinery and the port,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Obeid Meruh, told news wire AFP.
Sudan could impose penalties on its recently-annexed neighbour if the situation is not resolved and the fees paid.
South Sudan hit back at its northern neighbour, Ministry of Energy & Mines undersecretary, David Loro, telling AFP on Friday: “They want to stop the shipment so that it prolongs the whole process. Khartoum is trying to sabotage the economy of South Sudan.”
Other media quote South Sudan’s Oil Minister, Garang Deng, as saying: “We have failed to reach solutions with the government of Sudan that would guarantee that the ship would depart at the specified time.
“I have contacted the finance and energy ministers of the Northern government but they refused to talk about it on the pretext that they have meetings.”
Sudan and South Sudan have yet to strike an agreement on transit fees as the latter requires the former’s midstream and downstream infrastructure to export its oil, virtually its only source of revenue. The South holds about 75% of oil exported by what was until 9 July the enlarged country of Sudan from which the South gained independence.