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Saudi Arabia will supply Sudan with oil in the next five years to help it alleviate a severe fuel crunch in the country, Sudan’s Oil Minister Abdul Rahman Osman said on Monday after a visit to Saudi Arabia.
“We returned from Saudi Arabia after negotiations with the Saudi side to supply Sudan with oil for five years,” AFP quoted Osman as telling reporters in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
“Sudan will receive 1.8 million tonnes of oil in the first year. After that each year the quantity will be raised by seven percent,” the oil minister noted.
Saudi Development Bank will facilitate the financing of the Saudi-Sudanese agreement, Osman said, without providing details about the financial terms of the oil supply agreement or when deliveries would begin.
Sudan is trying to ease a fuel shortage crisis that began in early April. Back then, officials blamed the dwindling gasoline and diesel supplies at gas stations on delays in the maintenance of a key refinery. Shortage of foreign exchange reserves has also contributed to the crisis.
Despite efforts by the government to ease the fuel crunch, the crisis has intensified, and fuel prices on the black market surged this week to five times the official prices, and people are queuing for hours to fill up their tanks at gas stations where there is still fuel left.
A delegation from Sudan led by oil minister Osman visited Saudi Arabia last week to ask OPEC’s largest producer for help. Sudan is part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Sudan has been eager to build an oil industry after the split with South Sudan when it seceded in 2011. After the secession, the two countries have remained mutually dependent on oil revenues, with South Sudan owning 75 percent of the oil reserves, while the north owns the only current transport route to get oil to international markets.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com