Africa

Sudan 'needs clearer oil-sharing deal'

Oil facility in Southern Sudan (file image)
Image caption Most of Sudan's oil is produced in the south, but exported through the north

Sudan needs to have greater transparency over its oil revenues to help preserve peace in the region, according to a new report.

Campaign organisation Global Witness says suspicions over how revenues have been shared have added greatly to mistrust between north and south.

The report comes ahead of Sunday's referendum on southern independence.

Most of Sudan's oil comes from wells in the south but the infrastructure remains in the north.

The current oil-sharing accord between the two shares the revenues roughly 50:50.

In its report, Global Witness says the two sides need to agree a more transparent deal to replace the existing one, which is due to expire at the end of the month.

"There has been much mistrust over whether the current revenue distribution system has been implemented fairly," the report says.

"Mistrust over revenue sharing was one of the primary reasons for the south's temporary pullout from the power-sharing arrangement in 2007. Evidence suggests that such concerns are not unfounded."

The report also says the Sudanese government and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which is the biggest operator in the region, have not adequately accounted for discrepancies in published production figures.

It adds: "Under the current circumstances Sudanese citizens cannot be sure how much oil their country produces and therefore cannot be sure that the oil wealth-sharing agreement is being implemented fairly.

"It is critical that these issues are addressed. A new oil deal between north and south is essential to prevent a return to full-scale war."

The week-long referendum that begins on Sunday is part of the 2005 deal that ended a two-decades-long war.

More than 95% of registered voters are in Southern Sudan while the rest are Southern Sudanese living in the north or in one of eight foreign countries.

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