Oil output in strife-torn South Sudan has dropped more than 20% since the conflict began, analysts say, as rebels have seized vital oil-producing regions. TheWashington Post says China, which has invested billions in South Sudan’s oil infrastructure, has been forced to shut down operations in some areas and evacuate scores of Chinese workers.
Sudan in the north earns hundreds of millions of dollars in fees annually by allowing landlocked South Sudan’s oil to flow through pipelines to northern refineries and ports. With Sudan already suffering economically from United States’ sanctions and a loss of oil revenue since the creation of South Sudan, further drops in oil output may prove devastating.
South Sudan depends on oil for 98% of its revenue, and a prolonged conflict could bankrupt the country and bring more chaos. The US has spent billions in an effort to make South Sudan an island of stability in a region beset by poverty and growing Islamist militancy.