The government of South Sudan on Tuesday ordered Liu Yingcai, the head of the Chinese-Malaysian oil consortium Petrodar, to leave the country on the grounds of “non-cooperation”, a Southern official said.
“The [oil] minister has just expelled the president of Petrodar,” said Secretary General of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) Pagan Amum who is also South Sudan’s top negotiator for talks with Sudan over oil payments.
“I think one of the reasons is lack of cooperation by the President of Petrodar [with the government] and we have dismissed him and expelled him and we are asking the partners to appoint a new president,” Amum told Reuters during a visit to the Palouge oil field in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
Petrodar is a consortium comprised mainly of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with a 41 percent stake and Malaysia’s Petronas with 40 percent.
South Sudan seceded from the north officially last July taking 75% of the oil reserves that existed under the united country.
Talks between Khartoum and Juba over the terms by which the latter can export its oil using pipelines in the north have faltered despite intense pressure by African Union (AU) mediation team.
The Sudanese government then decided it can no longer wait for an agreement and started late last year to steal part of Juba’s oil pumped through the pipelines as payment in kind. South Sudan responded by shutting down oil production completely.
South Sudan afterwards accused unspecified oil companies of collaborating with Khartoum in “stealing” and marketing the crude it confiscated. It warned that it will sue any party that is proven to have facilitated this process.
But Petrodar denied any involvement and insisted that it complied with instructions coming from Juba.