SUDAN WATCH: Friedhelm Eronat is behind Cliveden Sudan and Darfur oil deal - It's blood for oil in Southern Sudan

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Friedhelm Eronat is behind Cliveden Sudan and Darfur oil deal - It's blood for oil in Southern Sudan

Intermission interrupted to share some important news. [June 10 update: The following post, drafted June 9, has been edited to insert additional material. Light blogging continues. If anyone has further info on issues raised here, please let me know and I will add info and link at end of this item and/or in a fresh post at a later date. Thanks. This story may be added to and remain on front page here during six week intermission.]

As noted here previously, Sudan confirmed in April that geological studies and surveys proved there are "abundant" quantities of oil in the western region of Darfur.

The following excerpt, from a report at Aljazeera April 19, 2005 entitled Sudan discovers abundant oil in war-torn Darfur, covers most of the details provided in April by various newswires [see also AKI report April 20, 2005]
"Sudanese Energy and Mining Minister, Awad Ahmed al-Jazz, said that a newly discovered oil field in Darfur was expected to generate 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day by August this year.

At the same time, Mohamed Siddig, a spokesman for the energy ministry also announced that drilling for oil had started in Darfur "on the basis of the geological studies and surveys which proved the presence of oil in abundant quantities in Darfur."

Siddig said the ABCO consortium, in which the Swiss company Cliveden has a 37 percent share, owned the rights to the field.

He also said work on the first oil well, southwest of El-Fasher in North Darfur State, was underway. Apparently, previous surveys showed that the region has untapped oil, gold, iron, silver as well as natural gas. Currently Sudan exports around 300,000 oil barrels per day. The country's main oil fields are in the south."
This evening (Thurs June 9) on television here in Britain, I watched a Channel 4 News special report on Sudan by Jonathan Miller. The report covers news logged here at Sudan Watch over the past year but the big news is, it revealed the name of the person behind the mysterious Swiss oil company Cliveden. It has given me a lead to google further info [see notes below]. When I last posted on Cliveden, I could not find who was behind the company which appeared to be either Swiss or UK based.

Jonathan Miller's investigation is important. He has discovered that the Khartoum government has signed a 25-year contract (which he has a copy of) with a consortium to drill for oil in southern Sudan and reveals the man behind Cliveden and the oil deal is Friedhelm Eronat a former US citizen (who often acted on behalf of Mobil overseas and ex-business partner of convicted Mobil dealmaker J. Bryan Williams) turned British citizen now living in Chelsea, London. How on earth did he get British citizenship so quickly? My understanding from Channel 4's TV news report is that as an American citizen he would have been jailed for 10 years for doing such a deal because of US sanctions. Why do the same rules not apply in Britain?

[Note, the point of copying various report excerpts and notes here below is to show how it was known in 2003 there was oil in Darfur - Cliveden's 25-year deal was signed in October 2003. Darfur rebellion began in earnest February 2003. Genocide in Darfur started around Feb/March 2004 causing, over the ensuing year, causing the deaths of some 300,000 - 400,00 Darfurians and millions to flee the region or country. South Darfur is an extremely dangerous and a "no-go area" for UN staff. Scroll down here below to see a map showing how few refugee camps are located in South Darfur, where oil is being explored. Drilling has started.]

Here is a transcript of Jonathan Miller's report entitled "Briton involved in Sudan oil drill" - below which is a rare photograph of Friedhelm Eronat, courtesy Channel 4 News. The report, I believe, opened with a mention of Darfur, saying "What a place to be looking for oil":

Say Darfur, we think genocide, ethnic cleansing. But to Khartoum and its corporate partners, deep below dustbowl Darfur lie abundant hidden riches.

In 2003, as Sudanese government forces and their murderous militias hounded black Africans from their homes, Khartoum signed a deal to drill for oil in Darfur.

In April this year, with the burning and killing still going, the oil minister announced they had struck oil.

A potential windfall for a pariah regime and its friends. So what on earth does the human misery of war torn Darfur have to do with the exclusive London borough of Chelsea?

Well, the man who was behind the Darfur oil deal lives here. Right here, in fact, in this multi-million pound mansion. Until two years ago he was an American citizen. Now though, he's British. His name: Friedhelm Eronat.

Peter Felter knows Cliveden's secrets, and Friedhelm Eronat's too. He was his lawyer for eight years and ran the whole empire for four before he was sacked. He is taking the Group to an employment tribunal. Cliveden's rigorously defending the action.

Peter Felter was the chairman of Cliveden Sudan at the time of the Darfur oil deal.

He said: "He's a complex personality. Very rich, very charming, a very good salesperson. He now is Mr Big Oil, untouchable. He doesn't care about the minor issues of Darfur or genocide."

We could not find any film of Friedhelm Eronat. But Channel 4 News has obtained the only known photographs.

In 1990 Mr Eronat set up a global oil empire: the Cliveden Group. It operates in Europe, America and Africa.

Friedhelm Eronat was at the heart of the deal to get at Darfur's oil. In late 2003, through his company, Cliveden Sudan, he acquired the biggest stake in the consortium drilling for oil.

Mr Felter said: "Cliveden Sudan was bringing not only money of course, but it also was bringing quite a level of expertise in looking at the geology in Sudan."

Darfur is vast. For many years geologists have suspected it holds abundant reserves of oil.

Cliveden Sudan now has the biggest share in a concession granted by Khartoum called Block C. It is almost as big as Scotland arcing across South Darfur and down into southern Sudan.

The consortium says an aggressive oil exploration programme is currently underway.

Block C is at the southern end of the conflict zone. Many thousands of Darfurians there have been forced to flee to makeshift camps.

Channel 4 News has seen the contract granting the concession to explore for oil in Darfur. This gives us an unprecedented insight into the workings of a deal that would normally remain secret.

It reveals that the agreement runs for 25 years. And that the consortium which includes Cliveden will - once oil is produced - pay up to $8m in bonuses to the Khartoum government.

It also shows how they will share the profits - starting with 70% to the government of Sudan and 13% for Cliveden Sudan.

From another document we know that Cliveden Sudan is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven, and has a business address in Switzerland.

Normally, it is impossible to determine the true owner of such companies. But our document reveals that in December 2003, Friedhelm Eronat personally owned Cliveden Sudan.

Channel 4 News has obtained confidential photographs, taken by African Union monitors last July in Suleia, a village just to the north of Block C.

The following month I went to other nearby burned villages. In them, I met people still on the run from Suleia. They said theyd been bombed by government planes.

Some had then been shackled and burned alive, many shot dead; others wounded; women, raped.

Suleia is 180km from Block C's first well. Cliveden Sudan insisted to us that the 'wells' are 1000km from the conflict zone.

So how did Cliveden Sudan get into bed with a regime accused of war crimes, in the very province the ethnic cleansing is happening? Here's how. Channel 4 News can reveal that Friedhelm Eronat's Sudan venture was very much a Chelsea-set affair. The whole deal brokered by his close neighbour, Lebanese businessman, Eli Calil.

If his name sounds familiar it's because he is alleged to have helped bankroll last year's failed coup in the West African state of Equatorial Guinea, an allegation he denies.

Mr Felter said: "He was purely and simple an introducing instrument. It was quite natural to ask Eli Calil he said he said I think I know a company that might be interested because they are already in Chad and he therefore introduced the Sudanese lot as it were to Eronat."

One of Darfur's rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement is adamant that the search for oil will enflame the conflict. They want all exploration to stop, until there is peace.

Ahmad Hussein Adam of the JEM said: "So when they say they discover oil in Darfur, who is going to benefit from that? Are they the people of Darfur? Of course not. Absolutely not, the only beneficiaries is the ruling elite and ruling minority of the regime."

In the rebels' view, Cliveden Sudan has joined those accused of propping up a pariah regime, whose members include UN war crimes suspects. Yet, under British law, Friedhelm Eronat has done nothing illegal in doing a deal with Khartoum. But then there is the ethical argument.

Mr Felter said: "I would say for Eronat he would deem it pretty irrelevant because it is about getting a signature on a document and I don't think it would be in his mind again Eronat is not interested in Darfur or political issues, he's interested in making money."

We've discovered another interesting fact about the mysterious Mr Eronat. A US Treasury Department notice lists individuals who have renounced their American citizenship.

One name on the list: Friedhelm Eronat. And the date: October 2003, just before the Darfur oil deal was signed. Co-incidence: maybe. But the effect was certainly helpful.

Under US sanctions against Sudan, an American doing business with the Sudanese state oil company could face ten years in jail and fines of half a million dollars.

Mr Felter said: "In terms of doing business in Sudan of course one advantage of denouncing your US citizenship is that suddenly you can also do deals in Sudan. If there is a direct connection or not I can't say but the timing was good."

In fact, we have learnt that it was in August 2003 that Friedhelm Eronat acquired a British passport.

We showed our evidence to a Conservative MP John Bercow, with a long interest in Darfur. In his view, Mr Eronat's new passport and the timing of his Sudan deal raise disturbing questions.

Mr Bercow said: "What discussions took place between the British and US administrations about his activities in the oil business? What assurances were sought about the prospective scope of his activities?

"What benefit did the British government think that an oil deal of this kind between a company and the government of Sudan could do to help the long-suffering people of Darfur? And what does the British government think that this deal will do for the credibility of its foreign policy towards Sudan?"

Mr Eronat has told Channel 4 News that he is not a shareholder or officer of Cliveden Sudan and that he does not work for or financially benefit from Cliveden Sudan.

Also that Cliveden Sudan is not the operator of the concession, but a shareholder.

In a statement to this programme, Cliveden Sudan said "there has been no commercial oil find in Block C."

As the International Criminal Court, backed by Britain, investigates the Sudanese regime for war crimes, and efforts to stop the killing gather pace, a British businessman has thrown oil on the flames in Darfur - and has done so legally.

Friedhelm Eronat
Rare photo of Friedhelm Eronat courtesy Channel 4 News UK. Friedhelm Eronat is the man behind the Darfur oil deal
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Sudan's oil deal with Swiss company Cliveden

The following report dated October 22, 2003 [via European Coalition on Oil in Sudan] at Al-Sahafah Sudanese newspaper mentions Swiss company Cliveden in an agreement on oil prospecting and production signed for the Block 2 which extends from the Bahr al-Jabal State [southern Sudan] to the borders of the Central African Republic and Chad:

KHARTOUM, Oct. 22, 2003 -- An agreement on oil prospecting and production was signed yesterday at the Ministry of Energy and Mining for the Block 2 which extends from the Bahr al-Jabal State [southern Sudan] to the borders of the Central African Republic and Chad.

The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Energy and Mining and a group of [oil] companies including the Swiss company, Cliveden, which has a 37 per cent share; High Tech, with 28 per cent; the [national] Sudanese [oil] company, Sudapet, with 17 per cent share; Khartoum State, with 10 per cent; and the Hejlij Company with 8 per cent share.

In a press statement after the signing of the agreement, the minister of energy and mining, Dr Awad Ahmad al-Jaz, said these companies had extensive expertise in the oil industry.

He added that the presence of the Swiss company Cliveden was going to give a strong impetus in this field.
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US backs off genocide charge in Darfur

Note this excerpt from a report by Brian Smith entitled US backs off genocide charge in Darfur May 3, 2005:

Sudan's minister of energy and mining announced last week the discovery of an oilfield in Darfur with abundant deposits. The announcement did not take oil experts by surprise, as previous reports had indicated that Darfur has untapped oil, gold, iron, silver and natural gas deposits. The country's ABCO Corp., in which Swiss company Cliveden has a 37 percent stake, has already started drilling southwest of El-Fasher in North Darfur state.

The southern civil war, which lasted 20 years, was prolonged by the question of how the region's oil wealth would be distributed.

Sudanese political analyst Mohamed Issam explained, "If you look back to the original demands made by the [Darfur] rebels at the start of the rebellion, they were asking for 80 percent of Darfur's oil wealth." He added, "Now they know for a fact the oil is there. The perception that the government is benefiting from Darfur's resources will fuel resentment and definitely complicate the [peace] negotiation process.
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Darfur rebel group JEM say oil drilling in Darfur must stop

LONDON, April 19 -- Sudan on Tuesday said its ABCO corporation -- in which Swiss company Cliveden owns 37 percent -- had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were "abundant" quantities of oil. "The Sudanese people have never benefited from these (oil) discoveries," said Ahmed Hussein, the London-based spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement. "The oil must wait until a final peace deal is signed."

Here is a copy of a report dated April 19, 2005 by Nima Elbagir via Reuters

Darfur's two main rebel groups called on the Sudanese government on Tuesday to stop oil exploration in the country's war ravaged western region until a resolution to the two-year-old conflict has been achieved.

Sudan on Tuesday said its ABCO corporation -- in which Swiss company Cliveden owns 37 percent -- had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were "abundant" quantities of oil.

"The Sudanese people have never benefited from these (oil) discoveries," said Ahmed Hussein, the London-based spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement. "The oil must wait until a final peace deal is signed."

"We call upon international companies to not invest in Darfur under these conditions and under this regime," Hussein added.

Sudan's main oilfields are in the south and disputes over oil prolonged negotiations to end 20 years of civil war.

Mohamed Siddig, a spokesman for Sudan's Ministry of Energy and Mining, told Reuters by phone on Monday: "The drilling (in Darfur) was undertaken on the basis of the geological studies and surveys which proved the presence of oil in abundant quantities."

A peace deal signed in January revived interest in Sudan's potential oil reserves but analysts say the conflict in Darfur, where tens of thousands have been killed and at least 2 million driven from their homes, has scared off investors.

Sudan Liberation Movement spokesman Adam Ali Shogar told Reuters from the Chadian capital N'Djamena that the drilling for oil was a waste of time.

"I welcome this discovery for the Sudanese people but if they find oil -- even if they find gold --, without a just distribution of wealth and a resolution to the conflict it is pointless."

Sudan began exporting oil in 1998 and exports around 300,000 barrels per day, which is set to rise to 500,000 bpd by August. Work on the first Darfur oil well, southwest of El-Fasher in North Darfur State, is under way.

Analysts say the discovery of oil wealth could give the two sides of the conflict more to fight over.

"If you look back to the original demands made by the rebels at the start of the rebellion, they were asking for 80 percent of Darfur's oil wealth," Mohamed Issam, a Sudanese political analyst, told Reuters from Khartoum.

"Now they know for a fact the oil is there. The perception that the government is benefiting from Darfur's resources will fuel resentment and definitely complicate the (peace) negotiation process," he added.
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Update June 11: A kind reader here helpfully points out an error in Nima's report above: the company representing the joint venture partners on Block C is called APCO - not ABCO.

A website for Advanced Petroleum Company (APCO) was accessible but today when I clicked into it, it throws up a blank page. Maybe the site has been deleted? Even if it has been deleted, is there any way to know the ULTIMATE owner of that domain name? Apparently, Standard Who searches don't go very far. If any readers can throw light on this or anything to do with APCO or Cliveden please let me know for future Sudan oil posts. Thanks. Today, I came across a World Energy News article at IHS Energy. The article is extracted from International Oil Letter, Vol 21 issue 21 published 2005-05-25:

APCO fails with its Dokhon 1 wildcat in Block C - Sudan

Despite some initial encouragement, APCO has abandoned its Dokhon 1 wildcat in Block C, Muglad Basin, after testing fresh water over an unspecified interval. The well was drilled to a total depth of 3,433m seeking a Lower Cretaceous Abu Gabra sandstone primary objective and is estimated to have cost US$ 5.5 million to drill. It is located around 2km south of the Hiba 1 duster drilled by Chevron in 1979 and is the first well to be drilled on the block for 20 years. Block C covers 65,000 sq km mainly in the Muglad Basin, south-west of the oil producing area of Block 1 and 2 where the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company has significant oil production. APCO (Advanced Petroleum Company) is a joint venture between Cliveden (37%); High Tech Group (28%); Sudan Petroleum Corporation (17%); State of Khartoum (10%) and Hejlij Co (8%).
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Secret World of the Chelsea Oil Tycoon

On googling for Friedhelm Eronat and Cliveden Sudan, I came across a great post by British blogger Adrian Gatton who is an investigative journalist and independent film-maker based in London, UK.

The post provides an excerpt from his report entitled "Secret World of the Chelsea Oil Tycoon" published in London's Evening Standard newspaper May 26, 2005. Sorry, I have not had a chance to contact the Evening Standard archive for full article:
He is at the centre of the new scramble for Africa but few have heard of him. A bitter struggle with his former lawyer, however, has opened the door on the remarkable life of Friedhelm Eronat.

Friedhelm Eronat is one of the world's most successful oil dealmakers. He is also one of the most secretive men in Britain. He has an estimated fortune of at least $100m (£55m) built on controversial deals worth billions - in far-flung, difficult places such as Nigeria, Russia and Kazakhstan. But details about him are scant. He eschews publicity.
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Chinese-backed Cliveden?

Here are some snippets I have gathered from google searches. Sorry some of the links have broken or require special subscriptions. The notes provide a pointer to further information on Friedhelm Eronat. Most interestingly, snippet (1) mentions "Chinese-backed Cliveden".

(1) November 2004 report entitled "Before coup, Chinese-backed Cliveden eyed Equatorial Guinea" via Platts Oilgram News - The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. -- New York - Friedhelm Eronat, ex-business partner of convicted Mobil dealmaker J. Bryan Williams and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department's pending James Giffen Kazakh bribe case in ...

(2) Platts Oilgram News - The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. - New York - Friedhelm Eronat, ex-business partner of convicted Mobil dealmaker J.Bryan Williams and an unindicted co=conspirator in the Justice ... coms2/plattsbrowse_PN__1681_1760

(3) Africa Energy Intelligence No. 319 - 27/03/2002 report - Chairman of Cliveden Petroleum, Friedhelm Eronat is a London-based trader who was highly active in the Caspian sea countries in the 1990s.

(4) The New Yorker Archives The Price of Oil report by Seymour M. Hersh Issue of 2001-07-09 Posted 2003-04-07. Excerpt:

In Mobil's case, the company's in-house investigators came to believe that the proposed swap between Kazakhstan and Iran was but one element in a complex of seemingly high-risk business deals that were devised by Bryan Williams. The investigation also led to the two other Americans named in Tabbah's suit: James H. Giffen, a New York merchant banker and adviser to Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev; and Friedhelm Eronat, a businessman who often acted on behalf of Mobil overseas. The business dealings and friendships among the three men date back many years, and they have done billions of dollars' worth of deals worldwide. The three might never have become the focus of grand-jury scrutiny if they hadn't fallen out with Farhat Tabba.

(5) Online Journal Big Oil, The United States and corruption report by Larry Chin: Federal authorities began working on the case in 1999, triggered by a British case in which a Jordanian businessman Farhat Tabbah filed a claim in British court alleging that Giffen had stiffed him out of $40 million of commissions for his help in the oil swaps. According to reporter Seymour Hersh's investigation of the case, Tabbah claims that London oil trader Friedhelm Eronat helped Tabbah arrange the shipments between Mobil and the Kazakhstan government. Eronat denied a major role in the deal.

(6) Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections - Is oil intrinsically dirty?: "Gabon's" - The Tengiz oil field on Kazakhstan's Caspian coast is one of the 10 largest oil deposits in the world, and also the centre of a huge scandal involving ExxonMobil. This country is listed at position 88 in the TI index. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported in 2001 that Jordanian businessman Farhat Tabbah had filed a lawsuit in London alleging that Mobil trader Friedhelm Eronat and a representative of the Kazakhstan government conspired to cheat him of millions of dollars in commissions for assisting in a profitable 10-year oil swap between Mobil and Kazakhstan.

(7) 12.03.04 Time for Transparency - Coming clean on oil, mining and gas revenues -- Information contained in legal assistance documents passed to Global Witness reveal that CC-1 is, in fact, Vaeko boss Friedhelm Eronat

(8) AC Vol 45 No 21 ... Friedhelm Eronat, an oil trader also active in Sudan and in Central. Asia, has used his connections with them to secure three big concessions, ... bpl/afco/2004/00000045/00000021/art00001
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It's blood for oil in Southern Sudan

Veteran journalist Julie Flint has written extensively on Sudan and researched and co-authored a Human Rights Watch report on Darfur titled "Darfur Destroyed." She wrote this commentary for The Daily Star Lebanon, published Friday, June 10, 2005:

When UN Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Darfur recently, he went to the front line - to Labado, where more than a hundred people died in one of those aerial bombardments the Sudan government says isn't happening. When he went to Southern Sudan, he went to the back line - to Rumbek, administrative center of the new Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), where the children of a relief generation greeted him with banners saying: "Kofi, no food, hunger imminent." Had Annan gone to the front line - to a village like Payuer, on the east bank of the White Nile - he would have received a very different message. "The war's not over."

Five months after Africa's longest-running civil war ended - officially, at least - Rumbek and Payuer are worlds apart. Everyone visits Rumbek; almost no one visits Payuer. Peace will not break down in Rumbek, but it could in Payuer.

Rumbek is a seethe of UN officials, relief workers and rebel commanders turned ministers-in-waiting. It has a secondary school (built by the British in 1948), roads, solid brick buildings, satellite dishes and restaurants with napkins. It has children who hold up banners that appear to have been dictated by adults. The biggest security problem the town has experienced since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed on January 9 was a fatal hit-and-run accident involving a UN driver. The driver fled into the local police station. Relatives of the victim attacked the police station, took the driver away and lynched him.

There are no cars in Payuer, no police and no paper to write slogans on. No one like Annan has ever visited Payuer, and until recently the place received no relief from the UN. Two years ago, Southerners displaced from government attacks on villages around the Adar oilfields were living in stone-age conditions there - eating leaves and re-boiled fish heads; sleeping without blankets or mosquito nets; dying of malaria, kala-azar, diarrhea, respiratory infections and wounds sustained during indiscriminate aerial bombardments. Things are a little better now: there's a small market offering shoes, clothes and oil brought from government towns for the few, the very few, who can afford them. There are a couple of aid workers investigating malnutrition (and finding less than they expected). There are cattle too, although most of them belong to Fellata - Sudanese Muslims of West African origin who have crossed to their prewar dry-season grazing grounds in rebel-controlled territory for the first time since 1983. There is universal relief that aerial bombardment has stopped, but also widespread skepticism about the durability of peace.

People here aren't asking for food: not one person, among scores interviewed in the course of a week, even mentioned it. Their message to the international community is this: "You forced this peace through. Now take the government militias away - or see peace fail."

Throughout the war, the Khartoum government used ethnic militias to divide and rule, denying any hand in the resulting mayhem. "Tribal trouble," it said, as it says now in Darfur. The CPA was negotiated, and signed, only by the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). The militias had no involvement in it. And in Northern Upper Nile, around Payuer, they are not fading away. Far from it: they are recruiting - at government urging, defectors say - training and attacking. Not quite as before, it's true. But attacking nonetheless.

Since the CPA was signed, government-supported Southern militias have attacked two SPLA positions around the oilfields near Payuer and displaced Southern civilians from a number of villages. The government has responded by promoting the militia leaders, confirming local people in the belief that the attacks were government-inspired. Militiamen who have chosen to join their kin in SPLA-controlled territory have paid a heavy price: their villages have been attacked and looted, and their families displaced.

The people of Payuer see a short-term and a long-term goal in the continued activation of the militias. Both involve oil, an industry currently worth more than a billion dollars a year to the Khartoum government. In the short term, they say, the government means to keep oil flowing, in ever greater quantities, by forcibly removing any people who still live in its way; in the long term, Khartoum will use the militias to fight against the separation of the South (and its oil) if Southerners vote for separation in a referendum in six years' time.

The war in Southern Sudan was fought for 21 years and took more than a million lives without ever reaching the UN Security Council. Darfur was raised at the Security Council in May 2004, barely a year after the rebellion there began. The oil war that has raged in Southern Sudan from 1998 onward never captured international imagination, and indignation, in the way that Darfur has. But it was every bit as terrible. Villages were burned, civilians slaughtered, women and children raped and mutilated. Most of the oil discovered in Sudan is located in the South, and to exploit it the government first had to capture the land under which it lay. Hundreds of thousands of Southerners were displaced and remain displaced.

Negotiations over oil were among the most difficult in the discussions that led to the CPA. Under the agreement, existing contracts remain valid, but can be reviewed in the event of environmental or ecological problems. New contracts will be negotiated and approved by the National Petroleum Commission, a joint government-Sudan People's Liberation Movement (which controls the SPLA) body which will be the industry's regulatory body. The GoSS will get 50 percent of net revenue from oil produced in the South. But here's the rub: the CPA does not give a categorical definition of the South. It defines the border as the border which was in place at independence in 1956. But even this border was controversial, and there is already disagreement over where the giant Heglig oilfield belongs, with some SPLA officials accusing the government of altering its administrative boundaries to shift it from South to North.

If the government sets Southerner against Southerner to try to hold onto oilfields like Adar, or if it seeks to play the boundary card, the SPLA will have only itself to blame. In the weeks before peace, the SPLA signed a number of seemingly illegal deals unilaterally granting oil concessions in the South. Khartoum has challenged the agreements as violations of the CPA - and leading industry analysts agree. As a particularly trenchant critic of SPLA "greed" says: "We have a government which doesn't yet exist - the "Civil Authority of New Sudan" - handing out oil licenses, the rights to which it doesn't own, to so-called oil firms which no one has ever heard of and which appear to have none of the technical, financial, management or operational requirements to take on the Sudd," the Nile swamplands which are at the center of the disputed leases. "If this is the way the South is going to approach the postwar environment, rather than accepting 50 percent of oil revenues and a role in the negotiation of any new oil licenses, then the whole peace agreement will fail. We'll be back to another decade or two of war and the petroleum will stay in the ground for another century."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Felter is not as inocent as he pretends to be. He was all for what was going on in Sudan until he got caught stealing from the company and was fired. Now he is pissed and saying all kinds of things in which he was happily involved in and making plenty of money. Shame on a man who is being so petty, when things don't go his way he turns on you. I wouldn't want this man working for me. He is not honest.

Sunday, July 23, 2006  

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