20 - Comparisons: Chad & Colombia
Regarded as an ally of Sudan's NIF, Chadian leader Idriss Deby is accused of encouraging Islamic fundamentalism through his links with them. The French military's former warmth towards Deby cooled after the Chadian president courted Chinese and other arms sellers, but in 1990 Deby helped France's Elf Aquitaine into the Exxon-led oil consortium.

Exxon, Shell and ELF Aquitaine plan to develop three oil fields in southern Chad with a 1,050km pipeline, most of which passes through Cameroun, and an off-shore loading facility for crude oil on Cameroun's southern coast.

In July 1998 an open letter was sent to James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, from 86 NGOs, calling on the Bank to suspend participation in a proposed oil and pipeline project in Chad and Cameroon until human rights and environmental concerns are adequately addressed.

Key objections were the severe violation of human rights in southern Chad and the inadequacy of the environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan for the project submitted to the Bank by Exxon.

The letter criticises "lack of accountability to affected populations, lack of transparency, and absence of the rule of law… precisely the values that you are championing in promoting good governance and in your fight against corruption. Under present circumstances we are concerned that the project will lead to escalating civil violence… We call on the World Bank to use its skills and resources to find alternatives to the presently risky Chad/Cameroun Oil and Pipeline project. The Bank's financial resources should be used for operations which have direct positive impacts on nutrition, health, education and other priorities of the people of Chad and Cameroun."

Postscript: In mid-November 1999, there were signs that Shell might pull out of the Chad-Cameroun project.

 Corporate Social Responsibility: "Good intentions are not enough"
"We can't stand aside from the problems of the communities in which we work. We can't try to operate in splendid isolation and cut ourselves off from local realities behind a security fence"
- Sir John Browne (Group Chief Executive, BP Amoco) delivering the Elliott Lecture at St. Antony's College, Oxford, 1998

"Companies are functions of the societies in which they operate. The challenge, the new goal for the new century, must be not only to supply the energy the world needs, but also to demonstrate that we can do so in ways which are acceptable, and enhance the life of the community as a whole"
- John Browne, 1997

It appears BP-Amoco is addressing issues of Corporate Social Responsibility that could be said to be a quantum leap ahead of oil company attitudes and practice in Sudan. BP-Amoco has argued that it is in company self-interest to do this, both to expand the consumer base for energy and to ensure the industry continues to attract the best and the brightest brains. Yet despite the good intentions, which represent an unusual degree of commitment by an oil company, the situation on the ground in BP-Amoco's Colombia project in Casanare remains dire.

The lives of the poor have not significantly improved since the arrival of the oil industry in Colombia as measured by the provision of basic services of healthcare, education and housing.

Instead, the poorest people have suffered disproportionately from the increase in political violence, and from environmental problems, as they are more dependent on their immediate physical surroundings than their richer neighbours.

Population growth, particularly in urban areas of Colombia, has created huge new problems. Population growth in response to the oil industry has been marked, while rapid urbanisation and changes in land-holding patterns have resulted in big changes, with evidence of alteration to traditional family structures and of an increase in youth crime.

Commitment to 'Corporate Social Responsibility' must be judged on outcome and not intention. Good intention is a necessary but insufficient condition to ensure that foreign direct investment - currently heralded as the key motor for development for many developing countries - brings about equitable development.
(Recommendations and Conclusions of the Inter-Agency Group -CAFOD, Christian Aid, CIIR, Oxfam GB and SCF UK- to BP-AMOCO on its role in Casanare, Colombia - July 1999)

 The World Trade Organisation (WTO) - Environment, Health & Human Rights
The Sudan oil project raises serious questions about social injustice and destruction of the environment which will be profoundly affected by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Millennium Round of talks in Seattle, November 1999. The most powerful trade body in the world, the WTO establishes global agreements and legally binding rules for international commerce. It has the power to over-rule existing environmental protection, health and labour rights laws in favour of the interests of multinational business corporations.

The WTO has already attacked a law passed in Massachusetts against working with companies investing in the repressive regime in Burma.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned in October 1999 that WTO rules could take precedence over hard-won environmental laws, including the proposed Persistent Pollutants Agreement, which seeks to curb toxic chemical pollution.

Independence: 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and Britain)

Population (1997 estimate): 32.6 million

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea between Egypt (N); Eritrea and Ethiopia (E); Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (S); and Libya, Chad and the Central African Republic (W).

Size: 2,505,810 km2 (967,000 square miles)

Major Cities: Capital - Khartoum [Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North]; Juba, Wau, Malakal, Atbara, Kassala, Wad Medani, Nyala, el-Fasher, el-Obeid, Port Sudan.

Languages: Arabic (official), Dinka, Bedawi, Nuer, Fur, Hausa, Zande, English, and various other Nilo-Saharan, and Afro-Asiatic languages.

Major Ethnic/Linguistic Groups: [Afro]-Arab (c.40% ), Beja, Dinka (c.12%), Fur, Nuba, Nubian, Nuer, Zande/Azande. The Arab group is ethnically diverse, but bound by language and religion. The Dinka are the largest single ethnic group.

The media's shorthand simplification of "Muslim-Arab north, Christian-African south" is inaccurate. There are thousands of Muslims in the south of Sudan, and millions of Christians and believers in traditional African religions in the north.

Muslim (Sunni) c.60-70% - Islam is the state religion, but many Sudanese Muslims are more influenced by tolerant Sufi philosophies than by the absolutist attitudes of the National Islamic Front. Degrees of orthodoxy are variable. In Darfur, sorghum beer (marissa) is a long-established.nutritional resource consumed by otherwise devout Muslims.

Traditional beliefs c.35% - Belief in traditional African religions persists among converts to monotheism.

Christian 5-15% - Growing adherence to Christianity is reported among southerners, Nuba and other marginalised peoples in Sudan, as they have been increasingly subjected to second-class citizenship and discrimination on account of their perceived "backwardness". Many are converting to Christianity to resist the forcible imposition of Islam by northerners who regard believers in traditional African religions as having no culture. However, the south can not be considered Christian by culture, since customary practices such as polygamy have long been an intrinsic part of southern cultures, even though they are contrary to Christian doctrine.

  • Currency: The Sudanese pound (£Sud) was replaced in mid-1999 by the Sudanese dinar, which is worth £Sud10 and had been circulation for several years alongside the old currency. 
  • Exchange Rate: US$1 = 250 dinars (September 1999) 
  • Gross Domestic Product (1997): c$3.8 billion 
  • Real GDP Growth Rate (1997 estimate): 4.0% 
  • Inflation Rate (1997 estimate): 65.0% 
  • Current Account Deficit (1997 ): c.-$807 million 
  • Major Trading Partners: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Italy, European Union 
  • Exports (1997 estimate): $634 million 
  • Imports (1997 estimate): $1,260 million 
  • Trade Deficit (1997): c. -$626 million 
  • Main Exports: Cotton, livestock, meat, hides, gum arabic, other agricultural products 
  • Main Imports: Arms, food, petroleum products, machinery 
  • Total External Debt (1999): c.$20 billion 
  • Arrears to the IMF: c.$1.6bn 
 Energy Overview
Total Energy Consumption (1996E): 0.0690 quadrillion Btu

Energy Consumption per Capita (1996E): 2.3 million Btu

Energy-related Carbon Emissions (1996E): 1.04 million metric tons (0.017% of world carbon emissions)

Carbon Emissions per Capita (1996E): 0.34 metric tons per person/year (v. 5.5 metric tons in US)

 Oil & Gas
  • Oil Reserves: 262.1 million barrels (proven January 1998). By the year 2015 the total current estimate of recoverable resources of 750 million barrels will have been exhausted unless new fields are found and developed. (Talisman now claims the recoverable reserves may be up to 950 million barrels) 
  • Crude Oil Production: 12,000 barrels per day (1998); 136,000 b/d in September 1999. 
  • Oil Consumption: 30,000 b/d (1998 estimate) 
  • Natural Gas Reserves: 3 trillion cubic feet (1998 estimate) 
  • Generation Capacity: 500 megawatts (1996) 
  • Generation / Consumption: c.1.3 billion kwh (1996 estimate)