Sudan & South Sudan: A Lifelong Dictator for Khartoum, and More Oil Uncertainty in the South
South Sudan’s military said its forces are in control of the oil fields in Unity and Upper Nile States, while rebel forces claim the contrary, saying they have captured the fields. What this really means is that the battle is still raging, and no one is in complete control. The likelihood is that the rebels have made gains here, but the government cannot concede this because this would be the end game. The rebels, likewise, have a need to exaggerate their successes. South Sudan’s only revenues come from oil. Whoever controls the oil controls the newly independent country, but at present no one is producing fields in Unity state due to the raging conflict. We also give credence to rumors that Khartoum (the capital of Sudan, which lost all its oil when South Sudan gained independence in 2011) is funding and arming rebels in South Sudan. At the same time, in Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir—a war criminal at the best of times—won elections again last month and is now forming a new government. This, despite the fa
ct that the elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties and voter turnout was very low. Bashir is now 71 and he seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989. His time for reforming the crumbling country, however, is running out. Cracks are showing in his power base, and without the South’s oil, he has nothing.
‘Oil Soldiers’ for Iraq
Iraq authorities are putting together a 27,000-strong army specifically to secure its oil and energy facilities from potential attack by the Islamic State (IS). This is a bit late in the game, but while the rest of the hungry producers have largely shrugged off the IS threat, Baghdad is finally realizing that its oil assets are vulnerable. At present, Iraq is producing almost 4 million barrels of oil per day and is the second largest OPEC producer, after Saudi Arabia.
Discovery & Development
• Argentina's state-run YPF has discovered a new shale gas deposit in the highly prized Vaca Muerta field in the country’s south. The discovery was in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, and according to YPF this is an indicator that there is a lot more gas in Vaca Muerta than originally thought. This is the first shale well in the reservoir to average daily production in excess of 43,000 barrels of oil equivalent. The Vaca Muerta…