South Sudan expels Chinese oil firm boss

An oil worker turns a spigot at an oil processing facility in Palouge oil field in Upper Nile state South Sudan prefers to leave oil in the ground than hand over revenues to Sudan

The world's newest nation has expelled its first person - the head of South Sudan's biggest oil company, the Chinese and Malaysian-owned Petrodar.

The Chinese national, Liu Yingcai, was asked to leave following an investigation into Khartoum's "theft" of oil worth $815m (£518m).

South Sudan has stopped production after Sudan seized oil - Khartoum says this is because of unpaid transit fees.

Since the country seceded from Sudan in July, relations have deteriorated.

The two sides fought a bitter civil war for decades in which some 1.5 million people died.

The conflict ended in 2005 with a peace deal that promised a referendum for southerners on independence, which they opted for last year.

Reviewing oil contracts

Oil makes up 98% of Juba's budget - but its only export route is through its northern neighbour.

Start Quote

Why would it sour relations?”

End Quote Barnaba Marial Benjamin South Sudan's information minister

The two countries have never reached an agreement over how much South Sudan should pay.

Before the shutdown, China was the biggest buyer of Sudanese oil, relying on it for nearly 5% of its needs.

It has good relations with the Khartoum government - and was a key player in trying to get the two sides to come to an agreement over the oil crisis.

Correspondents say the expulsion could damage South Sudan's relations with China.

"Why would it sour relations? The companies are still here and we are working with them," South Sudan's Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told the AFP news agency.

South Sudan also announced on Wednesday that it was reviewing all oil contracts that were signed before it became independent.

Earlier this week South Sudan halved spending on everything but government salaries to try to compensate for the loss of oil revenue.

Vice-President Riek Machar told the BBC that the loss of oil revenues would mean development would have to be put on hold for several years, but basic services would not suffer.

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.

Satellite image showing geography of Sudan, source: Nasa

Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Map showing Ethnicity of Sudan, source:

Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.

Map showing infant Mortality in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The health inequalities in Sudan are illustrated by infant mortality rates. In South Sudan, one in 10 children die before their first birthday. Whereas in the more developed northern states, such as Gezira and White Nile, half of those children would be expected to survive.

Map showing percentage of households using improved water and sanitation in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The gulf in water resources between north and south is stark. In Khartoum, River Nile, and Gezira states, two-thirds of people have access to piped drinking water and pit latrines. In the south, boreholes and unprotected wells are the main drinking sources. More than 80% of southerners have no toilet facilities whatsoever.

Map showing percentage of who complete primary school education in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Throughout the two Sudans, access to primary school education is strongly linked to household earnings. In the poorest parts of the south, less than 1% of children finish primary school. Whereas in the wealthier north, up to 50% of children complete primary level education.

Map showing percentage of households with poor food consumption in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Conflict and poverty are the main causes of food insecurity in both countries. In Sudan, many of the residents of war-affected Darfur and the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, depend on food aid. The UN said about 2.8m people in South Sudan would require food aid in 2013. The northern states tend to be wealthier, more urbanised and less reliant on agriculture.

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