«Human Rights Watch Brussels London New York Washington, D.C. Copyright © 2003 by Human Rights Watch. All rights reserved. Printed in the United ...»
Following Talisman’s cash infusions and with its technically advanced and hard-working staff, project construction proceeded on schedule, although Talisman was sharply criticized, particularly by Canadian churches and NGOs, because of the project’s human rights implications.385 Nevertheless, due to a jump in crude oil prices led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Talisman saw its and the Sudanese government’s profits soar, as oil prices more than doubled from U.S. $ 14 per barrel in October 1998 to U.S. $ 33 in October 2000.386 Government Inaugurates Oil Pipeline in Heglig, May 1999 Pipeline construction proceeded apace. The inauguration of the GNPOC pipeline from Blocks 1 and 2 to the Red Sea took place, with great fanfare, on May 31, 1999—the same month that government forces and militias attacked and violently drove thousands of civilians from their homes around oil concessions near Pariang (see below). President Bashir, ex-President Nimeiri (just granted amnesty), and Islamist ideologue and party founder Hassan al Turabi were on the podium for the pipeline inauguration, also attended by foreign dignitaries such as Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed.387 An Iraqi newspaper reported that the minister was in Sudan for talks on boosting energy cooperation between Sudan and Iraq.
Needed Urgently, Canadian Agencies Tell Axworthy,” Toronto, November 18, 1998.
386 U.S. Department of Energy, “Select Crude Oil Spot Prices,” WTI at Cushing, http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/crude1.htm (accessed November 27, 2000).
387 “Iraq’s Oil Minister to Visit Sudan Soon,” Reuters, Baghdad, June 26, 1999.
388 “Iraq Oil Min in Sudan to Boost Energy Cooperation—Report,” AP, Baghdad, June 30, 1999.
Sudan’s Deputy Energy Minister John Dor said that he expected crude output to increase from 150,000 to 270,000 barrels a day within two years.389 President Bashir characterized the pipeline project as having
successfully met the challenge of U.S. obstructions:
Government Inaugurates Khartoum Oil Refinery, June 1999 In July, an oil refinery at Al Shajarah, south of Khartoum, owned by the Sudanese company Concorp, was completed by the Chinese company CNPC.391 The first privately-owned oil refinery in Sudan, it cost U.S. $ 15 million and was projected to refine 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the government’s share of crude brought from the GNPOC oilfields via the GNPOC pipeline.392 The president of Sudan inaugurated the refinery on June 30, 1999, the tenth anniversary of the military-Islamist coup d’état, and he conferred the Order of Accomplishment on the general director of Concorp Petroleum Co., Mohamed Abdalla Jaral-Nabi, in recognition of his efforts to boost Sudanese oil production.393 Only a 389 “Sudan to Start 150,000 B/D Oil Exports in June—Newspaper,” Dow Jones Newswires, Manama, Bahrain, May 30, 1999, quoting the Arabic language newspaper Al Hayat (London). That target of 270,000 b/d had not been met as of late 2002.
390 Susan Sevareid, “Sudan Inaugurates Oil Pipeline,” AP, Heglig, Sudan, May 31, 1999.
391 See “China Finishes Sudan Oil Projects,” AP, Beijing, July 14, 1999. During an earlier visit to the refinery, National Industry Minister Badr Eddin Suleiman affirmed the importance of the Sudanese private sector entry into various industrial investments.
“National Industry Minister Inspects Concorp Oil Refinery,” Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Khartoum, June 22, 1999.
392 “Sudan’s First Private Sector Oil Refinery Inaugurated,” AFP, Khartoum, June 30, 1999.
393 “Al-Bashir Inaugurates Concorp Oil Refinery,” Omdurman Republic of Sudan Radio Network, Omdurman, in Arabic, June 30, 1999, as translated in Foreign Broadcasting Information Service (FBIS), Washington, D.C., June 30, 1999; “President Al-Bashir Inaugurates Concorp Oil Refinery,” SUNA, Khartoum, June 30, 1999.
few months before, a Sudanese environmental organization criticized the construction of the refineryand warned that overspills and oil dumping into the Nile would contaminate the river.394 In a letter to the Khartoum daily Akhbar Al Youm published on June 26, 1999, Talisman CEO Jim Buckee predicted that “there will be enough production to meet Sudan’s needs for a long time and to export to meet the world’s hunger for energy.”395 Talisman later estimated that, over the life of the Heglig and Unity fields alone, the government of Sudan would earn approximately U.S. $ 3 billion to $ 5 billion, depending on the international price of oil.396 First Oil Exports Flow from Sudan, August 1999 Before the oil project went on-line, Sudan’s economy had been in dire straits. In 1990, the IMF had issued a declaration of noncooperation against Sudan due to the government’s unpaid debt and debt service payments to the IMF. Sudan agreed to a schedule of payments to the IMF in 1997 and made progress in fiscal reforms that ultimately led the IMF to lift its declaration on August 27, 1999—just days before Sudan exported its first crude oil.397 While the people displaced from the oilfields struggled with on-going hostilities, disease, mud, rain, floods, mosquitoes, and lack of food in distant Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile, a ceremony to mark Sudan’s first export of crude oil took place at the newly-constructed oil supertanker port on the Red Sea on August 30, 1999. The notables assembled at Masra al Bashair watched as the first 600,000 barrels of crude oil flowed into an oil tanker.398 Its destination was Singapore, where the buyer, The Shell Transport 394 See “Neglect of the Environment: Warnings about Environmental Impact of Oil Extraction,” below.
395 Letter, James Buckee, Talisman CEO, to Ahmed Al Youm, Akhbar Al Youm editor in chief, June 21, 1999, published by Akhbar Al Youm, Khartoum, June 26, 1999.
396 J.W. Buckee, “Talisman in Sudan,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), Calgary, October 21, 1999; Talisman Energy, “Sudan—The Greater Nile Oil Project, Background Paper,” December 1998, p. 6.
397 IMF, “IMF Lifts Declaration of Noncooperation from Sudan,” News Brief No. 99/52, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1999.
398 Nhial Bol, “Islamic Regime Begins to Export Oil,” IPS, Bashar, Sudan, August 30, 1999.
and Trading Company planned to refine it.399 Representatives from thirty Western companies and delegates from Chad, the Central African Republic, and Saudi Arabia witnessed the event.
The government-run radio described the export as a victory for the Islamist government: “We have defeated all the foreign enemies wishing to stop the export of the oil. We must now defeat the internal enemy who may try to halt the full utilisation of the oil revenue.”400 The press quoted President Bashir, who described the exports as a reward from God for “Sudan’s faithfulness.”401 Incidents of Pipeline Sabotage, 1999 Once completed, the pipeline formed an obvious target for rebel attacks. Yet sabotage of the pipeline occurred not in the south of Sudan but in the north—perhaps because so little of the pipeline is located within the south. In the first incident, saboteurs attacked the pipeline in an uninhabited area fourteen kilometers east of Atbara (north of Khartoum), at midnight on September 19, 1999, just a few weeks after the first export of oil. In response, Sudan’s interior minister announced the deployment of more than 3,000 policemen along the pipeline. These “oil utilities police” would work in cooperation with the army and security forces already there to protect the oilfields, pipeline, and pumping stations.402 The Popular Defence Force, the Islamist militia under army jurisdiction, again called on all mujahedeen to join militia brigades heading for zones of military operations.403 There was confusion about which rebel force conducted the attack on the pipeline. Authorities said they found an emblem of the Umma 399 The Shell Transport and Trading Co. is the U.K. holding company of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies. “The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies – Structure,” http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=royalen&FC1=&FC2=&FC3=%2Froyal-en%2Fhtml%2Fiwgen%2Fabout_shell%2Fwho_we_are%2FStructure_of_Shell.html&FC4=&FC5= (accessed September 16, 2003).
400 Nhial Bol, “Islamic Regime Begins to Export Oil,” August 30, 1999.
401 “Sudan Begins Oil Exports,” U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) News Briefs (Nairobi), September 1, 1999.
402 Mohammed Ali Saeed, “Sudan to Request Extradition of Suspects in Pipeline Blast,” AFP, Khartoum, September 22, 1999.
403 “Program Summary: Omdurman Sudan TV,” Omdurman Sudan Television Network, Omdurman, in Arabic, September 23, 1999, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., September 27, 1999.
175Human Rights Watch
Liberation Army (ULA) at the sabotage site.404 The ULA was the armed wing of the Umma Party—one of the two largest political parties in Sudan and at the time a member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the coalition of opposition parties and armed movements headquartered in Asmara, Eritrea.
The NDA defended the attack, calling the pipeline a legitimate military target. It argued the sabotage did not constitute a terrorist but a military action because the NDA was in a state of war with the government.405 The SPLM also reiterated its position that the oil industry was a legitimate military objective.406 The government brought lawsuits for blowing up the pipeline against the NDA and Umma Party in exile.407 The government sought the extradition from Egypt of Sudanese opposition leaders who gave press interviews in Cairo (where they lived) about the sabotage. The Egyptian government ultimately reached a “gentleman’s agreement” with NDA leaders, and they left Egypt for Eritrea, thus rendering the issue of extradition moot.408 A month later, in early October 1999, two bomb blasts went off at a petroleum depot and service station in Kassala, a large town in eastern Sudan near the Eritrean border. Again, an emblem of the Umma Party 404 “Sudan: Statement on Pipeline Explosion; Rebels Suspected,” Omdurman Sudan Television Network, Omdurman, in Arabic, September 20, 1999, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., September 23, 1999.
405 Carol Pineau, “Sudan Pipeline Bombers Pledge to Strike Again,” AFP, Asmara, Eritrea, October 11, 1999.
406 Samson L. Kwaje, SPLM, “Flow of Oil Disrupted,” Nairobi, September 20 or 21, 1999.
407 Mohammed Ali Saeed, “Sudanese Government Suing Opposition Over Pipeline Blast,” AFP, Khartoum, September 21, 1999.
408 “Sudan Puts Arab League Agreement on Terrorism Control to Test,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Khartoum, September 29, 1999;
“Egypt Deports Two Sudanese Rebel Leaders over Oil Pipeline Blast,” AFP, Cairo, October 9, 1999; “Sudan—Egypt Denounces Oil Pipeline Attack,” Omdurman Republic of Sudan Radio Network, Omdurman, in Arabic, September 24, 1999, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., September 27, 1999; “Egypt Deports Two Sudanese Rebel Leaders over Oil Pipeline Blast,” AFP, Cairo, October 9, 1999; “Sudan Opposition Says Bomb Suspects Not Deported,” Reuters, Cairo, October 10, 1999; Carol Pineau, “Sudan Pipeline Bombers Pledge to Strike Again,” October 11, 1999; “File for the Extradition of the Accused from Eritrea Has Been Prepared,” SUNA, Khartoum, October 14, 1999.
176Oil Fuels the War
reportedly was found at the explosion scene, but the Umma Party denied any involvement.409 On November 28, 1999, an import pipeline from Port Sudan to Khartoum was sabotaged in Erkweit, about 120 kilometers southwest of Port Sudan. This did not affect the export of oil.410 The government claimed that the attack was launched from “a neighboring state,” meaning but not saying Eritrea.411 The oil export pipeline was sabotaged again on January 16, 2000. A bomb explosion, about 150 kilometers (ninety miles) southwest of Port Sudan, left a ten-foot rupture in the pipe.412 The government blamed the Beja Congress,413 a political party of the marginalized Beja people of eastern Sudan who took up arms in the 1990s and joined the opposition NDA.
In the early morning hours of May 1, 2000, the oil export pipeline was blown up again, some fifty meters from the site of the January blast, far from Western Upper Nile.414 A representative of the Beja Congress admitted to Human Rights Watch that Beja forces had sabotaged that pumping station, known as Bramayo, thirty kilometers south of Sinkat. They had sabotaged it three times, he said, the last time in May 2000. In that attack, a small team of Beja Congress saboteurs came at night and laid explosives, 409 Mohamed Ali Saeed, “Blasts in East Sudan, Military Buildup on Border with Eritrea,” AFP, Khartoum, October 6, 1999.
410 “Sabotage on Oil Pipeline in East Sudan,” AFP, Khartoum, November 28, 1999. The eight-inch-diameter pipeline had been built in 1974 to carry imported and refined oil products, mostly gasoline, to Khartoum. “Sudan Says Pipeline Attack Launched from Neighbouring State,” AFP, Khartoum, November 29, 1999.
412 “Sudan: Opposition Blamed for Oil Pipeline Explosion,” AFP, Khartoum, January 16, 2000, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., January 19, 2000.
413 “Sudan Oil Pipeline Sabotage,” BBC Online News, Khartoum, January 16, 2000; “Sudan: Opposition Abroad Denies Involvement in Oil Attack,” AFP, Khartoum, January 17, 2000, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., January 19, 2000; “Sudan: Oil Pipeline Resumes Operation after Blast,” AFP, Khartoum, January 19, 2000, as translated in FBIS, Washington, D.C., January 21, 2000.
414 Claudia Cattaneo, “Talisman’s Sudanese Pipeline Bombed: Third Incident of Sabotage on Controversial Project,” Financial Post (Toronto), Calgary, May 1, 2000; “Sudan Pipeline Blown Up,” Oil Daily (New York), May 2, 2000.