Sudan has just 10 days of oil supplies as protesters shut pipelines

© EBRAHIM HAMID Vehicles queue at a petrol station in the south of Sudan’s capital Khartoum. AFP

Sudanese protesters on Saturday blocked two key oil pipelines in Port Sudan, the main port on the Red Sea, over a peace deal with rebel groups, the oil minister said.

Oil Minister Gadein Ali Obeid warned that this was “an extremely grave situation”.

He told AFP that one pipeline transports oil exports from South Sudan while the other handles Sudanese crude imports.

There are enough [oil] reserves to last the country’s needs for up to 10 days

Sudan Ministry of Oil

“Entrances and exits at the port’s export terminal have been completely shuttered” since early Saturday, he said.

Last October, several rebel groups signed a peace deal with Sudan’s transitional government which came to power shortly after the 2019 removal of long-time autocrat Omar Al Bashir.

The protesters, from Sudan’s Beja minority, say that the deal, with rebels from the Darfur region and Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, ignored their interests.

Beja rebels agreed a peace deal with the Bashir regime in 2006, after a decade of low-level conflict in Port Sudan and the east.

Port Sudan is the country’s main seaport and a vital trade hub for the export-dependent economy.

The Khartoum government receives around $25 for every barrel of oil sold from neighbouring South Sudan, according to official figures.

South Sudan produces around 162,000 barrels per day, which is transported by pipeline to Port Sudan and then shipped to global markets.

“There are enough [oil] reserves to last the country’s needs for up to 10 days,” Sudan’s Oil Ministry said.

It warned the export pipeline could be damaged, after demonstrators prevented a vessel from loading crude.

Protests against the October 2020 peace deal have rocked east Sudan since last week.

On September 17, demonstrators impeded access to the docks in Port Sudan.

On Friday, demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Kassala Airport and a bridge linking Kassala state with the rest of the country.

The unrest comes as Sudan grapples with chronic economic problems inherited from the Bashir regime.

On Tuesday, the transitional government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said it had foiled a coup attempt by supporters of the ousted president.

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