Omar al-Bashir, long-term President of Sudan, was toppled from power by the military on Thursday and placed under “heavy guard”, following months of protests against the government and its handling of a severe economic crisis in the country.
Bashir, 75, who had ruled Sudan since 1989, is reportedly being held at the presidential palace, sources told Reuters.
Sudan’s Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said that there would be a two-year transition period of military rule and a council governing the country. Presidential elections will be held after the transition period expires.
Sudan, a relatively small African oil producer, has been plagued by economic hardships since South Sudan seceded in 2011. South Sudan broke from Sudan in 2011 and took with it around 350,000 bpd in oil production.
After South Sudan’s secession from Sudan, the two countries have been mutually dependent on oil revenues, because the south has 75 percent of the oil reserves, while the north has the only current transport route for the oil to international markets.
In November last year, Sudan’s Petroleum Minister Azhari Abdalla said that the country wanted to attract oil investments and would launch an exploration bid round in 2019, probably in the third quarter.
However, with the military coup and the army ruling in the country, uncertainty about Sudan’s plans for oil bid rounds and for attracting oil investments increases.
A severe economic crisis is raging in the country, where banks have put limits on withdrawals. The government has pledged a 15-month austerity program in hopes of stabilizing the economy.
As of the end of last year, Sudan still hoped that it could be able to increase its crude oil production from the current 75,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd within a year. The country also targets to start exports of oil within the next three to five years.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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