A yes vote on July 9, 2011 will mark the split of the state of Sudan, further creating a North Sudan state and a South Sudan state. Currently, Sudan is fifteenth from the bottom of poorest countries in the world, according to the United Nations index of world’s poorest countries. Sudan is also on the United States list of state sponsored terrorism, partly due to the genocides occurring in Darfur but President Obama has agreed to take them off if they hold a credible on-time referendum for Southern Independence.
The CPA (comprehensive Peace Agreement) ended a twenty-two yearlong war between the Arab north and Christian south. This allowed Sudan’s oil wealth to be shared with the south and open up possibilities for American and European access. China currently holds the largest stake, controlling 60 percent of oil production. Recently, WikiLeaks reported that current president of Sudan, President al-Bashir has siphoned as much as $9 billion out of the country.
Sudan’s oil reserves are estimated at 6.7 billion barrels, while the country has massive but uncharted mineral wealth. The ability to plunder this wealth is an inevitable source of conflict, as is access to the Nile, which provides 149 billion cubic metres of water reserves each year. A newly created South Sudan will own about 80 percent of the country’s oil resources and include the Nile basin, but Sudan has the refineries and control of the 1,500-kilometre pipeline, built by China National Petroleum Company (CPNC), which carries the oil to the export point of Port Sudan.
A key part of the deal was to allow Sudan’s oil wealth to be shared with the south and open up possibilities for American and European corporations to access the large oil fields in the south that have thus far largely been controlled by China, Pakistan, Malaysia and France. China has by far the largest stake, controlling 60 percent of oil production
Title: Great power rivalries over oil animate Sudan secession referendum
Author: Jean Shaoul
Source: World Socialist website, January 8, 2011
Other Sources: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa-Africa-Monitor/2011/0127/Five0challenges-South-Sudan-will-face-after-referendum
Student Researcher: Kaitlyn Vargas, Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Mutombo M’Panya, Sonoma State University