South Sudan and Russia have agreed to strengthen their energy ties, particularly in the oil sector, as South Sudan looks to recover from the impact of the civil war in Sudan.
South Sudan, being an oil producer in Africa, has a number of foreign firms, including Russian companies, operating in its oil industry. However, the civil war in Sudan has had a significant impact on the country.
President Putin expressed his optimism about the expansion of energy cooperation between South Sudan and Russia, as reported by the Kremlin. He mentioned, “We have many favorable opportunities in many diverse fields, including energy.” He also mentioned the construction of an oil refinery in South Sudan with the assistance of a Russian company, the Safinat Group, and the plans for the second phase of this project. He highlighted the potential benefits of these projects on the development of trade and economic ties between the two nations.
The meeting between Putin and Kiir also touched on regional security, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Sudan. President Kiir expressed the need for South Sudan to have strong allies, and he acknowledged Russia as one of them. He stated, “We need our own friends. You are one of them. We do not see any alternative besides you.”
The conflict in Sudan began in April when the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group, rebelled against the Sudanese army in the capital, Khartoum. The impact of this conflict has spilled over to South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011.
Sudan plays a vital role as the sole channel for crude oil exports from landlocked South Sudan. The primary blends exported by both countries are Nile and Dar, with destinations in Asia reached through Port Sudan and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. In 2021, despite the majority of the oil belonging to South Sudan, the two nations managed to export approximately 132,000 barrels per day of crude oil.
Despite the ongoing conflict in Sudan, estimates indicate that South Sudan’s crude oil exports have reached their highest level in nearly two years. This achievement showcases resilience and determination amidst challenging circumstances.