Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is threatening to shut down the pipelines that transfer oil from the landlocked South to Port Sudan on the Red Sea unless a revenue sharing deal is reached by next month. South Sudan is a little over two weeks away from declaring its independence officially which came after the referendum held last January which resulted in an almost unanimous vote in favor of secession from the North. But several contentious post-referendum arrangements have yet to be agreed on between the ex-foes mainly including border demarcation, citizenship, splitting national debt and oil sharing. The latter is a sensitive issue as both sides are largely dependent on oil proceeds to fund their budgets. The ruling National Congress Parity (NCP) and Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) are negotiating a compromise on those items among others with the mediation efforts of the African Union (AU) in the Ethiopian capital.
While the south holds around 75% of Sudan’s oil reserves, the north has the refineries and pipelines. The south needs Khartoum’s co-operation to sell its oil; the north needs revenues from its neighbor’s resources. Currently the North and the South are splitting the proceeds of crude in accordance with the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005. Southern officials initially said that they could temporarily continue the oil sharing formula but as relations between the NCP and SPLM deteriorated sharply in recent months the idea was dropped.
Today the Sudanese leader said that Southerners have three options with regard to the oil. “I give the south three alternatives for the oil….either the north continues getting its share, or we gets fees for every barrel that the south sends to Port Sudan,” Bashir told supporters at a rally in Port Sudan. “If they [Southerners] don’t accept that, we’re going to shut down the pipeline,” he added. Bashir slammed statements by Southern officials in which they threatened to deny the North “even a single gallon of oil”. “We will not beg or accept their conditions. Our choices are known to them; splitting [oil revenue] or our full right in the oil that passes through our land or let them find another exporting alternative,” he said.