Sudan OIL & CONFLICT TIMELINE
1955

Beginning of first civil war between north and south.

1956

Independence - end of British-Egyptian condominium rule.

1958

General Abboud's military coup in November overthrows first civilian government.

1960s

Early oil exploration begun by Agip in the Red Sea

1964

October 1964: Abboud regime toppled by popular uprising

Port Sudan refinery comes on-stream, operated by Shell and BP (Sudan) Ltd., a company set up in 1962 between Royal Dutch/Shell and BP. Capacity of 20,000 b/d later expanded to 25,000 b/d in early 1970s. (Shell still owns Port Sudan refinery)

1969

Jaafar Nimeiri becomes president after "May Revolution"; briefly anti-Western.

1970

January 70: Nimeiri nationalises all banks, sequesters many large companies.

March 70: Nimeiri crushes potential Ansar/Umma insurrection - bombs White Nile Aba island base; Imam al-Hadi al-Mahdi killed fleeing towards Ethiopia.

November 70: Nimeiri sacks communists from his government

1971

July 71: Failed communist coup d'etat; Nimeiri kicks out Soviet advisors, opens door to China.

1972

Relations resume with US and West

July 72: Addis Ababa Agreement, with autonomy for the South, ends 17 years of civil war

1973

Large-scale Sudanese emigration to the increasingly wealthy Arab oil states.

March 73: US ambassador C.A Noel assassinated in Khartoum.

August 73: Attempted uprising by Muslim Brotherhood and Umma Party

1974

Chevron begins operations in Red Sea, and near Bentiu, Malakal and Muglad in S / SW. Concession is originally granted to Chevron, with Shell subsequently taking a 25% interest.

Over the next 20 years, Chevron and Shell spend an estimated US$1bn, shoot "extensive seismic", and drill "52 wells, including 34 suspended oil wells capable of re-completion for production."

1975

Sudan is called potential "breadbasket of the Arab world"; large-scale mechanised agriculture expands into southern Kordofan; huge influx of international capital. Loans to Sudan begin accumulating - leading to present day unpayable arrears.

September 75: Attempted anti-Nimeiri coup by "National Front" - an Umma/DUP/Muslim Brotherhood coalition.

1976

Chevron makes Suakin Red Sea gas discovery.

July 76: Failed coup attempt by Ansar (of Sadiq al-Mahdi's Umma party) and Muslim Brotherhood

1977

Sadiq al-Mahdi holds "reconciliation" with President Nimeiri (see photo) - but doesn't consult his followers.

1977: "OPEN DOOR" FREE-MARKET POLICIES ADOPTED

1978

1978: First Chevron oil discoveries near Bentiu and Heglig. "More than Saudi Arabia - 15m b/d," claims Lebanese newspaper

Joint Sudanese-Egyptian financing project is launched to construct the Jonglei Canal through Sudd marshes of the South, employing the French CCI company's redundant giant excavator.

Economic crisis - international primary commodity prices plummet and imported oil prices soar. IMF intervenes and negotiates "structural adjustment". First devaluation.

1979

February 79: US Secretary of Defense promises to sell jet fighters, tanks and other arms to Sudan. October - US Senate approves $1.7m in additional military assistance to Sudan (after several previous larger weapons deals).

1980

JONGLEI CANAL construction begins, despite local protests.

Nimeiri embarks on "redivision" of the south from one autonomous unit to three states; a map attached to the Regional Government bill puts the area where oil has been found into northern Sudan. His creation of new "Unity" state around Bentiu to prise it from the south causes political upheaval among southerners, as does presidential decree that oil refinery is to be built at Kosti, in the north, instead of Bentiu.

1981

Chevron discovers commercial oil deposits in the "Unity (South)" field north of Bentiu. With neighbouring Heglig field in S. Kordofan, recoverable reserves are estimated at 236m barrels.

August 81: White Nile Petroleum Corporation is formed by Chevron and Sudan government. There are no southerners on the board.

1982

January 82: Petrol shortages spark serious disturbances. For the first time, Nimeiri's army command voices disapproval of the situation in the country and the corruption of his cronies.

September 82: Kosti refinery project "frozen" in favour of pipeline plan.

1983

Nimeiri completes "redivision" of South; sacks vice-presidents Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu.

April 1983: Civil war re-ignites after mutinies by army commanders Arok Thon Arok, Kerubino Kuanyin, John Garang and others lead to formation of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

September 1983: Nimeiri introduces "sharia" laws - used by his regime to terrorise and humiliate, with indefinite detention, public floggings, amputations - and death penalty for "heretics".

White Nile Petroleum Company (owned by government, Chevron, Shell and Apicorp) created to build 1,420-km export line from Unity and Heglig via Kosti to Red Sea terminal between Port Sudan and Suakin; projected cost US$1bn.

1984

Nimeiri uses southern ethnic Nuer "Anya Nya Two" militia against SPLA in the oilfields.

March 1984: SPLA attacks oil fields in the south; Chevron suspends operations. Three expatriate Chevron workers are kidnapped from Rub Kona base, near Bentiu, and killed.

July 84: Government signs deal with Trans-African Pipeline Co. of US to build 1,760-km pipeline across Sudan to Central African Republic. (It was never built.)

JONGLEI CANAL WORK IS HALTED BY SPLA

Adnan Khashoggi is offered all-in oil deal by Nimeiri, making implicit threat to Chevron to resume operations.

1985

Fighting in southern Sudan escalates to highest levels yet. Khartoum and other towns fill with people displaced by war in south and famine in west. War spending is double that for education and health.

Anti-Nimeiri alliance of trades unions, professional associations and student bodies co-ordinates opposition, establishes extensive clandestine network of banned political parties, women and youth associations, as well as cells within the army and police.

April 1985: Massive demonstrations precede a general strike that paralyses the country; Nimeiri is overthrown by army after popular uprising. SPLA rejects peace overtures of transitional military junta headed by his former Defence Minister.

1986

April-May - Parliamentary Elections - Sadiq al-Mahdi becomes Prime Minister of a series of coalitions. No voting in half the 86 southern constituencies on grounds of "insecurity".

November 86 : Government shelves all contracts for $375m oil pipeline proposal by White Nile Petroleum consortium (Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, International Finance Corporation and Sudan government), despite complaints from partners.

1987

"Anya-Nya Two" militia breaks up after SPLA's 1986 military successes; senior commanders defect with virtually entire units to SPLA.

1988

Chevron resumes its activities, planning a six-year exploration and drilling program. China buys part of Chevron concession.

Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and his Minister of Defence, Gen (rtd) Mubarak Osman Rahma, (Nimeiri's last ambassador to Beijing), sign large arms deal with China. Sadiq does not stay in power long enough to take delivery of the weapons.

1989

January-March 89: SPLA "New Kush" Division enters Nuba Mountains led by Yusif Kuwa.advance close to Kadugli, Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, overrunning police posts. Despite SPLA-government ceasefire, SPLA units infiltrate Tulushi in the western hills.

April 89: Government transfers remnants of the anti-SPLA militia "Anya Nya Two" to Kadugli, where they gain a reputation for ruthlessness. Over 200 Nuba in Kadugli are detained, including many members of the Sudan National Party. Several are summarily executed.

30 June 1989: Lt-Gen al-Bashir and Hassan al-Turabi's National Islamic Front (NIF) stage military coup

NIF overthrows Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi's elected government, aborting peace process and upcoming constitutional conference with SPLA. War escalates in the South; large shipments of arms from China (ordered by Sadiq) are paid for by Iran.

November 89: In Upper Nile, "Anya-Nya Two" forces allied with Army against SPLA disrupt guerrilla supply lines between Bahr al-Ghazal and Ethiopia.

1990

1990: Chevron finally quits and relinquishes all its concessions, after spending more than $1billion.

January 90: Khartoum reaches deal with Libya for free supply of 600,000 tons of oil (agreement extended twice until May 1991 but supply proves erratic).

April 90: Extrajudicial execution of 28 military officers and unspecified numbers of NCOs and soldiers follows anti-NIF coup attempt.

June 90: Garang announces upcoming SPLA talks with Bashir.

August 90: Gulf War breaks out. Khartoum backs Iraq and is boycotted by Gulf Co-operation Council. Riyadh suspends supplies.

September 90: Iran's president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani declares his support for Sudan and describes the war in the South as a "holy war". More than 60 lawyers and judges, including at least eight from the High Court and the Deputy Chief Justice, are dismissed. Fifteen Nuba NCOs in the Sudanese army are executed for "plotting and collaborating with the SPLA", after 45 officers are arrested.

1991

SPLA peace negotiations with regime sponsored by Kenya.

March 91: Visit to China by Sudan's military chief of logistics: an arms contract worth US$300m is reportedly signed, to be financed by the NIF with funds from Iran. Two helicopters, one hundred 1,000-pound high altitude bombs and assorted ammunition are later shipped to Port Sudan. China sends team to instruct Sudanese pilots and aircrews in high altitude bombing. Bombardments of civilian targets in the South increase.

May 91: Overthrow of Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia. Weakened by the subsequent loss of logistical support from Ethiopia, the SPLA, which at this point holds 90% of the rural areas and several towns, loses considerable ground to government forces over the next three years.

August 1991: SPLA Commanders Riek Machar and Lam Akol lead unsuccessful "creeping coup" attempt against John Garang; form breakaway "Nasir" faction (later "SPLA-United / Southern Sudan Independence Movement") with allies mainly from Upper Nile's Nuer and Shilluk.

Army seals off the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan) and begins scorched earth operations.

December 91: Iran's Hashemi Rafsanjani heads delegation of 157 officials, 80 from military/intelligence; signs protocols on economic, political and military and intelligence matters. Washington expresses "interest and concern". Iran denies enlisting help in providing new bases for Hezbollah but is willing to train Sudan army personnel: hundreds are being trained in security methods by revolutionary guards. Tehran supplies Sudan with oil and a $17m loan, and agrees to write off a $150m loan given to Nimeiri by the late Shah.

1992

Government begins forcible mass relocation of Nuba civilians to "peace villages" - displaced persons' camps.

January 92: Sudan signs Red Sea exploration agreement with Canadian International Petroleum Corporation (now Lundin) to undertake geophysical studies in a 38,400sq.km onshore and offshore concession between Tokar, 180km S of Port Sudan, and Halaib. Minister for Energy and Mines Uthman Abd al-Wahhab says prospecting can start immediately. Initial six-year agreement renewable for 25 years.

February 92: Dispute with Egypt over rights to Halaib area beside Red Sea: Cairo proposes to license a maritime area extending south to latitude 22oN, implying a territorial claim. Visiting Cairo, Sudanese RCC Deputy Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Brig-Gen Zubeir Muhammad Salih raises the issue; Egyptian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Hamdi Ali Abd al-Wahhab Banbi says region belongs to Egypt.

UN General Assembly condemns Sudan's NIF regime for gross violations of human rights.

Oil production begins to gather pace after government troops seize large areas in the south from faction-fighting rebels.

February 92: Sudan government seeks support for oil from investors including Canada's IPC (Lundin Group)

5 June 92: SPLA negotiations with regime sponsored by Nigeria in Abuja close down in failure. The NIF, believing it is winning the war, is intransigent. It rules out SPLA options of unity under a secular democratic system, or self-determination for South Sudan and marginal areas through a referendum.

30 June 92: On the third anniversary of its military coup, the NIF says it expects to announce the resumption of crude oil production in southern Kordofan. A Sudanese company will be responsible for refining the petroleum, expected to be produced at 120,000 b/d.

7 June 92: Minister of Energy and Mining Dr Osman Abd al-Wahhab inspects Abu Jabra oilfield at Muglad in SW Sudan. 'Five wells have been drilled, two of them are productive with a capacity of 1500 and 500 b/d respectively,' reports SUNA.

7-8 June 92: SPLA commando forces enter Juba, largest town in the south. They occupy the HQ of the Southern Military Command for three hours, then withdraw to hold six army garrisons on the outskirts of the town. SPLA claims that hundreds of Southern Sudanese soldiers and officers joined them. 9 June 92: Government radio says attack on Juba has been repulsed, and that life in Juba is 'normal'. 11 June 92: Lt-Gen al-Bashir and senior officials fly into Juba for briefing.

June-July 92: Chevron ends 17-year involvement in Sudan

Sale by TransOcean Chevron Co. of upstream holdings - 42m acres - to Sudanese company Concorp, for a token $25m.

June-July 92: After SPLA invasion of Juba fails, government forces embark on retaliatory massacre. More than 200 are killed in the streets or executed. Another 232 citizens are arrested and taken to the "White House" (Security HQ) and ‘disappear’. Catholic bishops say that the army has "turned on civilians", killing and burning homes of suspected SPLA sympathisers. A quarter of a million homeless people are herded into a stadium, hospitals and church buildings after their camps are razed. Five foreign missionaries are forced to leave; civilian bodies are found floating in the Nile. Present in Juba is Fatih Erwa, later head of Sudan Mission to the UN in New York.

mid-1992: The NIF government signs a contract to pay US$300,000 a year to the Pagolis and Donnelly Group to improve its public image.

28 July 92: Arakis Energy of Canada says London-based Triad International (Pvt) Ltd. is willing to put up $25m to buy Chevron's Sudan project.

August-September 92: Concorp International - president and owner Mohammed Abdallah Jar al-Nabi - acquires Chevron's Sudan interests.

Concorp begins commercial oil production and refining begin at Abu Jabra, a small topping refinery near Muglad, South Kordofan, with capacity of 2,000 b/d.. Critics say income from initial sales supports NIF's civilian militia.

September 92: Egypt "annexes" the Red Sea enclave of Halaib

October 92: Chevron sells prospecting rights to Concorp.

October 92: Concorp owner, Sudanese businessman M.A Jar al-Nabi, senior NIF financier, sells Chevron concessions to Arakis Energy Corp. and State Petroleum Corp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arakis, headed by Pakistani national Lutfur Khan. State and Arakis say concessions hold potential 3.5-5 billion barrels of oil. Finance and Economic Planning Minister Hamdi says Iraq will provide technical assistance.

7 December 92: Oil field and refinery in Abu Jabra, south Kordofan, officially opened by Lt-Gen al-Bashir - followed by a thanksgiving at the new Khayrat mosque, where Bashir assures worshippers that the Sudanese people have "now broken free from their bonds and will longer be bothered by condemnations from outside organisations."

7 December 92: Arakis signs memorandum of understanding with Sudan government; Concorp International Ltd Khartoum completes purchase of TransOcean Chevron Co's shares of Chevron Oil Co. of Sudan for undisclosed price.

1993

Egypt and Sudan at loggerheads over territorial rights to Halaib, prompted by Sudan granting oil exploration concession. Each accuses the other of harbouring opposition elements.

1993: Sudan fails to pay arrears to World Bank and Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, who suspend loans.

SPLA's John Garang proposes referendum on Southern self-determination.

1993: US State Department adds Sudan to its list of states sponsoring terrorism.

Talks between government representative Ali al-Haj Muhammad and SPLA-United's Dr Lam Akol in Fashoda, during coronation of the new Shilluk king: Akol is accused of complicity with the NIF.

12 January 93: Arakis engineering and production team in Khartoum to identify cost of bringing Sudan oil into production at rate of 40,000 b/d in 1995. Arakis says its 75% owned concession contains estimated 1.4-bn bbl of oil of which 280m are proven recoverable, and that concession has potential to develop additional 3.5bn bbl.

Iraqi MiG-23 aircraft that fled to Iran in the Gulf War have allegedly been refitted by Iran for use by the Sudanese air force against the SPLA in South Sudan. Lt-Gen Abdel Rahman Said, former army deputy chief of staff and now leading the Sudanese opposition Armed Forces Legitimate Command, says Baghdad was a party to the deal, and that the MiGs - 'the only type of Iraqi plane that Sudan can maintain' would go back to Iraq after an unspecified period. He claims Iran has delivered "between 60 and 90 tanks" to Khartoum, as well as long-range howitzers, ammunition and lorries.

25 January 93: Lutfur Rahman Khan of Arakis says State chose it as a partner because of its ability to raise investment capital. Analysts say State and Arakis are exaggerating the recoverable reserves of the Sudanese fields.

February 93: 'Tiny' Rowland, chairman of the Lonrho group and long-time backroom operator in African politics, reveals that for the last nine years he has been a member of the SPLM/SPLA. He goes on to say: "The war in Sudan is unwinnable and must come to an end." Shuttle diplomacy: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visits Khartoum; Rowland makes a trip to Sudan at the same time. Ali al-Haj goes to Entebbe, Uganda, to meet Garang. Museveni wants to reunite the SPLA. The leader of the Nasir faction, Lam Akol, announces that meetings with such a goal could take place in mid-March in Nairobi. But "Entebbe declaration" does not remove any of the current obstacles to the peace talks.

March 93: Fuel shortages and lack of funds to import petrol and diesel and to operate power stations and bakeries. Envoys to Iran asking for help include Dr Ahmed Awad al-Jaz, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. Iran, although positive, wants a European country as third-party guarantor; negotiations reach deadlock and Sudan receives nothing.

27 April 93: Peace talks resume in Abuja, Nigeria; Garang and Machar both absent.

June 93: Arakis Energy Corp (AKSEF) begins trading stock on Nasdaq exchange.

June 93: Government sub-divides Chevron's concessions into smaller exploration blocks; Arakis Energy acquires the portion of Chevron's concession north of the town of Bentiu. Arakis says it has no connections with the Triad company (owned by former arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who was used as a bargaining chip over oil deals with Chevron by Nimeiri in 1985).

29 August 93: State Petroleum enters into exploration and production sharing agreement with Sudan government. State subsequently spends $125m to explore and develop project, and discovers Toma South and El Toor fields in Unity exploration area.

September 1993: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda and Kenya establish a committee to resolve the civil war in Sudan, as members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

1994

Terry Alexander becomes president of Arakis

January 94: Row with Britain: Archbishop of Canterbury, his wife and two officials fly to South Sudan for three days and meet rival SPLA faction leaders.

At New Year Independence anniversary celebrations Lt-Gen al-Bashir says the expulsion of Ambassador Peter Streams - in the row over Dr Carey's visit - will teach the British a lesson. Britain expels Sudan's ambassador to London, Ali Osman Muhammad Yasin, who also works for the Attorney-General and is Sudan's ambassador to the UN.

mid-January 94: Representatives of Chinese companies accompany China's Vice-Premier and minister of foreign affairs to Khartoum. Agreements signed on banking, oil exploration and mining, light and heavy industry, agriculture, fisheries and pharmaceuticals..

end January 94: Unprecedented build-up of government forces in Southern Sudan: soldiers and supplies moved by rail and barge to Wau and Juba. Clashes with SPLA-Mainstream are reported on the road parallel to the Aweil-Wau railway; in southern Bahr al-Ghazal; between Yei and Morobo, and between Juba and Kit. The government claims to have taken Nasir, Waat and Ayod from SPLA-United.

January 94: In France, ministers Salah al-Din Karrar (Energy and Mining), Ali al-Haj (Federal Affairs, ex- Investment and Planning) and Abdullah Hassan Ahmed (Finance) said to have talked to Iranex (French gum arabic co.), BTP (construction), Total and Airbus. Senior intelligence officers from the Nimeiri days who frequently visit Paris include US-trained Hashim ba'Saeed and Fatih Erwa.

end January 1994: Repeated aerial bombing forces over 1,000 Equatorian refugees daily into Uganda.

end January 94: Fighting on three fronts in Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan. Mass killing, burning and rape reported from Bangili and Tagoma, east of Dilling. In Delami, crops are burned in the fields and wells are poisoned by the NIF's Popular Defence Force. Displaced women and young children are taken by security forces to the Rahmaniyya "Peace Camp", reportedly a "breeding camp" to "Arabise" future generations. Older boys are taken to special camps for religious indoctrination and military training.

February 94: Machine-gun attack on minority Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiya mosque in Omdurman - 19 dead. Two men are later shot dead and two wounded and arrested after a shooting incident outside the house of Saudi tycoon Usama bin Laden in Khartoum. The regime links the incidents.

February 94: New opposition Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance launched in London by ex-Darfur Governor Ahmed Ibrahim Diraige with Nuba spokesman Suleiman Rahhal.

10 February 94: Seven security officers and Iranian advisor found dead in al-Hufra, eastern Sudan. Khartoum retaliates by confiscating 360 trucks from the Rashayda people of the area. Subsequent water shortage - some were used to carry water - is blamed for the deaths of seven children.

12 February 94: Sudan accuses Britain's Parliament of supporting "rebellion" after MPs' meetings with the Sudanese opposition are held at Westminster.

12 February 1994: In Nairobi, Riek Machar calls for UN intervention in Sudan and an oil and arms embargo on Khartoum.

March 94: After Washington's directive ordering US banks not to endorse Sudanese letters of credit, Sudan orders its banks to stop dealings with the US.

Lam Akol dismissed from SPLA-United; challenges Riek Machar and claims to command forces in mid-west Upper Nile under the name SPLA-U. SPLA-United commanders Faustino and Kerubino advance into Wunrok, northern Bahr al-Ghazal. Thousands die in faction fighting.

March 94: 14 years after gaining exploration rights over 120,000 sq.km in Bahr al-Ghazal province, French oil company Total suspends all activities and withdraws because of escalation of civil war.

March 94: Lundin family buys 8.2 percent of Arakis stock through their holding in Swedish company Sands Petroleum AB.

11 May 94: Arakis acquires State Petroleum, gains control of the Sudan concessions in Unity and Heglig.

(All of the issued and outstanding common stock in exchange for 6,000,000 Arakis shares + finder's fee of 150,000 shares with aggregate deemed value of $13m, according to Arakis 1996 report)

May 94: Malaysian telecommunications company signs memorandum to take shares in Sudatel, the privatised Sudan Telecommunications Company.

June 94: Liquidation of the General Petroleum Corporation. Energy Minister Salah ad-Din Karrar admits that Sud£238m were stolen by a businessman who was given the money to buy dollars from the black market on the corporation's behalf. Recent petrol shortage was due to one client of the GPC diverting a sum of US$7m to his personal account and failing to deliver the goods. The deficit in the GPC budget is Sud£9bn.

August 94: Hassan al-Turabi makes clandestine visit to Paris, invites French involvement in oil exploration

September 94: Peace negotiations: "Despite reservations", John Garang's Mainstream SPLM/A endorses the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD) Declaration of Principles for talks in Nairobi with the Sudan government, stressing self-determination and separating religion from state.

September 94: Reconciliation conference in Akobo, Upper Nile, between the Lou and Jikany clans of the Nuer, organised by local SPLA splinter groups, local chiefs and Presbyterian church. For two years disputes between the clans had intensified, with over 1000 dead. Soldiers in the area supported their own clans, becoming involved in fighting rather than intervening to stop it.

30 September 94: Riak Machar's breakaway SPLA-United "Nasir" faction announces change of name to Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM). Lam Akol, dismissed from the movement earlier this year, had announced separately that he was the chairman of the United faction, and claimed to have deposed Machar.

Arrears with the African Development Bank: Dr Muhammad Kheir al-Zubair, Minister of State for Finance, says the near future will see more co-operation with international and regional financial institutions.

September-October 94: Eritrea accuses Sudan of training more than 400 'terrorists' with a view to undermining its security. Sudan accuses Eritrea of training 300 Sudanese opposition guerrillas for cross-border raids; Eritrea severs diplomatic relations with Sudan.

October 94: Foreign Ministry delegation visits Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Visiting Iranian delegation sees the Construction Jihad of Iran active in agriculture, hospital building and road building in Sudan.

November 94: Foreign Minister Hussein Suleiman Abu Salih visits China; his delegation looks at textile and oil industries.

1995

1995: Government begins strategy of "peace from within", wooing smaller rebel groups and individual dissident SPLA commanders.

6-17 July 95: Arakis' Terry Alexander announces deal to sell 40% of Arakis to Saudi investors for $345m and a line of credit of $400m. Under the deal, Arab Group International will buy 23m newly-issued shares in Arakis at $15 per share in four tranches from July 27 to 15 September. The AGI representatives will also get three board seats, with Prince Sultan Bin Saud Abdullah al Saud becoming chairman of Arakis. Abbas Salih will be vice chairman, Alexander will remain president and Lutfur Khan will remain president of State Petroleum.

mid-1995: Maj-Gen Salah Karrar, Minister of Energy, negotiates with Russia, China, Iraq and Iran over oil development.

August 95: Arakis claims to have completed the pipeline design and says construction equipment and materials are being shipped to Sudan. However, Finance Minister Abdallah Hassan Ahmed tells al-Sharq al-Awsat that the agreement between the government and Arakis is due for renewal.

7 August 95: Worries that Arakis' financial agreement with Arab Group International (AGI) are in jeopardy cause the share price to fall 40% in two weeks from a high of $25.6 in late July to $16.5.

After announcing a financing deal, Arakis shares reach a record market value of approximately $1 billion. But the deal vapourises and the company's shares plummet, forcing out chief executive "Terry" Alexander and forcing a major restructuring of Arakis's finances.

15 August 95: Arakis' shares rise to over $22 amid renewed optimism.

17 August 95: Khartoum government announces Qatari interest in developing two minor former Chevron concessions.

21-22 August 95: Arakis shares drop sharply again to a new low of $10-$12. The rapid fall is prompted by Arakis' admission that AGI would put up only $40m in cash of the anticipated $345m in equity finance, with the remainder paid in letters of credit, which might include physical assets.

24 August 95 - Arakis delists from Vancouver Stock Exchange and is suspended from trading on Nasdaq for a month.

26 September 95: Bashir in China: his delegation signs agreements on mining, oil, textiles, sugar industry and rehabilitation of Sudan railways. Preferential loan of 150m yuan (US$20m) is negotiated with Finance Minister Abdullah Hassan Ahmed, and a grant of 1m yuan obtained for "projects for poor families".

December 95: Terry Alexander leaves Arakis and is replaced by John McLeod, described as former Amoco Canada engineer who was in charge of Sudanese project from 1991. Arakis shares rise three cents to $3.62 after the news of Alexander's departure is announced. They had peaked in July at $26.62.

1996

January 96 China votes against Sudan in the UN Security Council (it abstains on 26 April).

April 1996: Government’s Supreme Council for Peace puts forward its Political Charter, a non-binding general framework for a political solution to the civil conflict.

April 96: President Clinton signs the Anti-Terrorism Act, barring Americans from engaging in financial transactions with governments on the US list of terrorism sponsors, including Sudan.

26 April 1996: United Nations imposes diplomatic sanctions on Khartoum for its involvement in terrorism. In the vote, China abstains.

Arakis begins production from nine wells on the Heglig field. An average of 2,000 b/d is processed and consumed domestically.

Officials from China's CNOEDC meet Arakis Energy executives, including President John McLeod in Vancouver.

Arakis needs around US$750,000 for the pipeline project. It announces a big new discovery, and pays to take a score of mainly US - but also British - financiers on a junket to Sudan.

June 96: Arakis / State Petroleum starts limited production of 10-20,000 b/d from Heglig, transporting crude by truck and river barge to topping plant refinery near El Obeid.

29 July 96: Government troops attack SPLA positions at Delal Ajak, west of the Nile. Lam Akol's SPLA-United warns Arakis Energy and its British financier, Venture Guarantee Ltd to pull out immediately; says it will not allow Khartoum to 'steal' oil. The government aim is to secure the passage on the White Nile of barges to move crude oil from the Adar-1 field from Melut to Kosti further north. From Kosti, the oil would be sent by train to a refinery at al-Obeid.

31 July 96: Arakis chief executive John McLeod says company is taking the threats seriously.

August 96: US Treasury issues regulations to block deals that would help government-backed terrorism. The "Oxy loophole" (certain business transaction exemptions theoretically enabled Occidental Petroleum to pursue an interest in Sudan).

1 August 96: Arakis statement says its 25-year agreement with the government of Sudan is still valid and that it has spent more than US$100m developing Sudan concessions.

"Recruited through an agency known as Executive Outcomes, mercenaries will be employed directly by Arakis and will operate independently from the Sudanese authorities," alleges Sudan Democratic Gazette

Two renegade SPLA commanders, Riek Machar and Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, agree with regime to set up a buffer zone between SPLA forces and the government forces directly protecting the oil fields. Kuanyin moves his forces out of Gogrial town and heads towards Twic county in late August, but is ambushed by the SPLA. Splintered SPLA no longer has large numbers of forces in the Nuer territory of the Bentiu area.

October 96: In Upper Nile's Adar Yale field, private Qatari-Sudanese consortium Gulf Petroleum Company drills and reopens existing wells.

October 1996: Opposition claims Arakis International is planning to employ "white mercenaries" from South Africa as a security force. Arakis' John McLeod says the Sudan military provides protection, and the firm employs its own security and safety coordinators who work as go-betweens between company and army. He says he has never talked to Executive Outcomes.

30 October 96: Arakis / State Petroleum estimates its fields have probable and proven reserves of 600m barrels.

November 96: John Garang warns that SPLA forces will attack Adar Yale oil field.

November 96: Khartoum government excludes Occidental from consortium, angered by Clinton government providing aid to 3 neighbouring countries that help the SPLA/NDA forces. (US provided $20m in surplus military equipment to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda.)

4 November 96: Arakis subsidiary State Petroleum secures framework agreement with Sudan government on developing concession near Bentiu.

Negotiations start on a "modified production sharing agreement", as it searches for other investors for $1 billion project for field development and pipeline to Port Sudan.

4 November 96: US sources say Khartoum "looking favourably on a proposal by potential investors" for a security operation mounted by Executive Outcomes. UK sources say Bashir has approved initiative and that any private force would report to and be paid by Khartoum government, said to be interested in private training for Riek Machar's men following signing of Peace Charter. EO deny any involvement.

4 November 96: Branch Energy said to be interested in Arakis project.

December 1996: Unable to finance exploration, development and pipeline alone, Arakis enters into a consortium, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). It consists of Arakis (25% share and field operator), China National Petroleum Corporation (40%), Petronas of Malaysia (30%) and the Sudanese national oil firm Sudapet (5%).

John McLeod says the Chinese partners "incorporated additional benefits to the Sudan government, which essentially got them their participation." Partners will have to make capital expenditures on the project until they equal Arakis' expenditure to date.

28 December 96: Three Arakis board members quit in row over compensation and are replaced.

1997

1997: Sudan government adopts "Islamic" constitution.

Arakis' Lutfur Khan appoints former Sudanese finance minister Abdel Rahim Hamdi to a committee advising the board of directors of Arakis. (Committee no longer functioning by February 1998). Arakis sells its last remaining US asset, a Kentucky natural gas property.

January 97: Arakis announces third major oil find, El Nar2 (after El Toor and South Toma in 1996) .

January 97: Washington Post claims US government secretly granted exemption to Occidental Petroleum interest in Sudan project, says Sudan has estimated 3.5bn bbl. Abolitionist Leadership Council calls on Congress to block Occidental involvement and says "Khartoum is building a security force… to protect [the oil project] from its rightful owners."

February 97: Riak Machar, ex-SPLA head of the South Sudan Independence Movement, officially switches sides and joins Khartoum government against SPLA.

February 97: Khartoum says Eritrean and Ethiopian troops are fighting alongide the rebel forces.

Sudan faces a 900 million dollar deficit. Oil imports rise to nearly US$400m/yr, representing more than 25% of the country's total imports, while total exports reach US$600m/yr.

National Democratic Alliance and SPLA forces open eastern front, seizing patches of territory between the Red Sea and the Blue Nile, threatening the Roseires hydroelectric dam near Damazin.

February 1997: Sweden's IPC / Lundin Oil signs production-sharing agreement for exploration of Block 5A, just south of Arakis' Unity fields. Lundin later brings in Petronas of Malaysia, OMV-AG of Austria and the Sudan government's Sudapet.

27 February 97: Arakis officially enters into Greater Nile pipeline consortium agreement.

February 97: Lundin family buying Arakis stock

March 1997: Bashir inaugurates production from Adar Yale field - 5,000 bl/d, under consortium led by Qatar's Gulf Petroleum Corporation.

China National Petroleum Corporation begins exploration and development on the Sharaf, Tabaldi and Abu Jabra fields (Block 6).

March 97: Sands Petroleum AB (Lundin) files with SEC to say it holds 8.4% of Arakis

21 April 1997: Khartoum Peace Agreement signed between government and six splinter rebel groups - but mainstream SPLA is absent.

9 May 97:- Arakis adds Lukas Lundin of Sands Petroleum AB to its board.

By mid 1997 there had been more "significant discoveries" at Toma South, El Toor and El Nar. The formation of the pipeline consortium resulted in a fourfold expansion of the exploration and development program from the 1996 level, with four drilling rigs in the concession either drilling or being rigged up to drill, and three seismic crews actively acquiring data.

July 97:- Arakis appoints new pipeline manager David Hunter, who used to work for Occidental.

17 July 97: Austria's OMV (Mineral and Oil Administration) joins a four-member consortium for oil exploration in Block 5A led by IPC (Lundin), the second consortium to begin oil exploration in Sudan this year.

30 July 97: James Taylor, then executive vice-president for international exploration of Occidental Petroleum, joins Arakis board.

July 97: 1,500 km pipeline budgeted at US $1bn US to build; concession is estimated at 1bn barrels of oil

16 September 97: Ernie Pratt resigns from Arakis after operating responsibility in Sudan is transferred to Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co.

18 September 97: Lutfur Rahman Khan says government of Sudan is stable and fully able militarily and politically to hold the oil fields…

26 September 97: Kenneth C. Rutherford resigns as finance and chief financial officer to undertake private venture and is replaced by Tom G. Milne, formerly of Nova Corp. Calgary.

October 1997: Arakis awards contracts for manufacture of 28" line-pipe to China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation (1110km) and Mannesmann Handel AG of Germany (500km)

November 97: Canadian Ambassador Gabriel Lessard writes to Arakis asking them to reconsider their presence in Sudan

4 November 97: President Clinton signs executive order under the International Emergency Powers Act calling for all Sudanese assets in the US to be blocked, and imposes a ban on bank loans and all US trade with the country. Sudan cuts banking links with US banking establishments in retaliation. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says sanctions were imposed because of Khartoum's "continued sponsorship of international terror, efforts to destabilise neighbouring countries and abysmal record on human rights." Sudan's ministry of external trade says Sudanese-US trade amounts to only five per cent of Sudan's total exchanges. Future international transfers through American banks will be averted by transacting with other international banks "in foreign currencies other than the US dollar."

Hydroelectric dams on the Nile's second and fourth cataracts are proposed. China and Sudan sign initial financial agreement on controversial Kajbar Dam, opposed by Nubians.

December 97: Opposition NDA issues official warning to users of the Khartoum-Gedaref-Kassala-Port Sudan highway that it is now a military target.

1998

1998: Arakis plan to build $750m, 28", 1,610km pipeline still on track.

13 January 1998.: Arakis awards Argentina's TECHINT International the contract for construction work on the Port Sudan marine terminal, pumps and SCADA, Supply contracts for the pumps and drivers are awarded to Weir Pumps Ltd of Glasgow, Scotland, and for generators to Allan Power Engineering Ltd, England. China Petroleum Engineering Construction Corporation will build the pipeline and field facilities.

February 98: Two pro-government forces - under Gen Paulino Matiep Nhial and USDF leader Riek Machar - fight each other in the Bentiu area, "close to drilling operations of the China National Oil Company."

February 1998: Wau, capital of Bahr al-Ghazal, surrounded by Kerubino's forces.

Gabriel Lessard, Canada's ambassador to Sudan, warns that Arakis workers are in peril; Arakis admits "reduced comfort level".

February 98: First Vice-President Lt-Gen al-Zubeir Mohammad Saleh and ex-SPLA Cdr Arok Thon Arok die in plane crash near Ethiopian border.

February 98: Arakis appoints Raymond P. Cej as its new president and CEO. Previously chairman and CEO of Kyrgoil Corp. of Calgary, and former senior operating officer with Shell Canada, he replaces Lutfur Rahman Khan, who was acting president and will remain as chairman.

February 98: Arakis pays insurance company $3.5m to cap its exposure in US securities lawsuits and pays a $250,000 penalty to Vancouver Stock Exchange over Arab Group International (AGI) financing farrago.

2 March 98: State Petroleum writes to Sudan government assuring them the structure and management of State and Arakis will not change substantially. Sudan government issues 60-day notice of possible termination of Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement, citing March 2 letter. The notice is subsequently withdrawn.

May 98: Arakis predicts commercial production of 150,000 b/d to start mid-1999 and completion by same date of 1,500-km pipeline with daily capacity of 250,000b/d

May 98: Arakis says reserves on its Unity, Heglig and Kaikang concessions proven and probable are 428.9m bbl; says proven reserves of 271.3m bbl are sufficient to meet production target of 150,000 b/d subject to additional drilling.

May 98: François Misser in Germany's Die Tageszeitung writes that the GNOP consortium wants to hire 3,000 armed fighters from Iran, and an additional 600 from Malaysia. The men would allegedly be under the supervision of a South African company. "Soldier Of Fortune" magazine guesses that this could be Executive Outcomes, reported to have worked with Arakis before, although Arakis denies this.

4 May 98: Oil pipeline construction begins at eight separate locations along the route

May 98: A 50,000-b/d refinery at al-Jayli begins construction with assistance from China's CNPC.

June 1998: SPLA captures Mabaan, Blue Nile province (on the road to Melut) and the town of Ulu, about 150 km SW of the strategic eastern town of Damazin and close to the installation at Adar Yale field.

Violence forces aid workers to evacuate parts of Western Upper Nile

Gulf Petroleum Company increases Adar-Yale production to 10,000 b/d. Sudan producing between 18,000 and 20,000 barrels of oil a day.

June 98 - Arakis says its two properties in Sudan may hold about three billion bbl of oil, according to estimates made by Chevron and Shell when they were exploring the property.

June 17: Arakis adds Ian H. Lundin and Fred C. Coles to board of directors

July 1998-December 1998 Fighting in Leer and Mankien districts of Western Upper Nile (Block 5A) keeps WFP aid workers away for five months.

24 July 98: Take-over offer for Arakis by Canadian firm Talisman Energy (formerly BP-Canada). Agreement to the deal comes from Lundin Oil AB (newly-formed in merger between Sands Petroleum AB and IPC), which holds 10.8% of Arakis, and State Street Research (which holds 8%).

17-18 August 98: Talisman agrees to purchase Arakis Energy Corp for stock valued at US$175.7m - $200m, committing the company to $760m of capital spending on Sudan project over next 2 years.

20 August 98: US missile attack on Khartoum's al-Shifa chemical plant - doubts raised about the completion of the Arakis purchase.

21 August 98: Talisman's Jim Buckee, former BP planning manager, "surprised and concerned" by Shifa attack, and seeking more information.

31 August 98: Talisman announces it is advancing $22 million to Arakis to meet funding obligations.

September 98: SPLA offensive produces no significant gains in the south and is successfully repulsed by government forces.

Attitudes in Khartoum harden. Confident of the efficacy of military action against his enemies, Turabi threatens to put Sadiq al-Mahdi on trial.

October 1998: Sharif al-Tuhami, Irrigation Minister, resigns his position. Allegations had appeared in the Arabic press that he helped his son Abdul-Rahman obtain a contract for his construction company Maban in the pipeline project.

7 October 98: Arakis shareholders, Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, Sudan government and members of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company consortium approve sale to Talisman. Talisman completes purchase of Arakis for Ca$277m, plus advance of Ca$46.5m to meet capital requirements

December 98: Talisman estimates proved plus probable reserves in Sudan concession at 150m bbl. It says the company is not prohibited by US sanctions from participating in the project and will fund all Sudan activities from non-US sources.

(Talisman chart shows total yield for five fields 447m bbl, with Talisman share 113m bbl. But company also says it is assuming total of 929m bbl, with its share 232m bbl. Goes on to say mean estimate of undiscovered oil in place is 10 bn bbl, with recovery factor of at least 30%...)

December 98: Talisman says project is 250-500km north of the trouble zones and is well protected.

Pipeline building in South Kordofan, skirting west of Nuba Mountains: SPLA's Ismail Khamis says government used the armed forces to pin down his forces while laying pipe around Lake Keilak.

1999

Pipeline to Port Sudan is 25% complete by mid-January, and more than 110 oil wells have been drilled.

13 January 99: Talisman planning to cut investment in North Sea and Canada to find $200m needed for Sudan project in 1999, says chief executive Jim Buckee. Total Talisman share of Sudan project costs about $430m, which Buckee says can be met with undrawn credit lines of $700m and a "commercial paper program" of about $350m.

February 1999: "Terry" Alexander, former head of Arakis Energy, fined $804,000 US, including $335,000 costs, and banned from trading for 20 years.

Alexander admits secret involvement in deals that profited from Arakis's skyrocketing stock price in 1995 after a reported $750 million financing agreement for the Sudan pipeline, which later collapsed. Alexander unrepentant, saying he was in over his head.

Securities Commission says Alexander controlled Arakis shares held in various offshore companies and trusts and that substantial trading profits were made by "some offshore companies", and that shares were issued without being fully paid for by these companies.

February/March 99: SPLA ambushes Red Cross vehicle near oil fields, seizing 3 local government and security officials (whom it calls "spies") and a Red Crescent officer. All four die; government uses SPLA's refusal to turn over the bodies to delay peace negotiations and block UN relief assessment in SPLA-held Nuba mountains.

1 March 99: Lundin Oil 1998 results include write-off of SEK156.2m of original investment in Arakis Energy.

3 March 99: Jim Buckee of Talisman says first oil exports from Sudan are "less than eight months away." He says acquisition of Arakis required Talisman to spend $140m (excluding capitalised interest) in the last quarter of 1998, in addition to the financing provided to Arakis between the acquisition bid and close of the purchase. Release also says total exploration and development spending in Sudan was $305 million in 1998 including $156m incurred by Arakis prior to the acquisition (Talisman release)

March 99: SPLA 13th battalion under Commander Malik Agar, based at Ulu, defeats a government brigade which had been besieging the town of 50,000 since 6 January. The victory brings the Adar Yale oilfield, in Khor Adar, Upper Nile, east of Melut and Malakal, into range of the SPLA's artillery.

April 1999: Completion announced of 1,610 km pipeline linking Heglig oilfield with terminal at Basha'ir Red Sea terminal

Pipeline runs via oil refinery being built at al Jayli, 70 km N of Khartoum, due to become operational at the end of December 1999, which will have an annual capacity of 2.5m tonnes of crude oil.

April 99: Energy and Mining Minister Dr Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz visits China and West Germany. He discusses with the Chinese ways of completing Khartoum oil refinery, and setting up an electrical power station at the refinery.

30 April 99: The government is building factories to produce tanks and missiles, "to defend ourselves against conspirators," Turabi tells a rally in Ed Damer, and is quoted by Akhbar al-Yom as saying he will use earnings on oil exports as finance.

May 99: Ministers say Sudan will be self-sufficient in oil production by mid-1999 and be able "to export crude oil for the first time ever in the second semester of 1999. Initially we hope to export 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day which would be increased to 250,000 b/d in the year 2000" - Awad al-Jaz

May 99: ''Many villages on the eastern edge of Heglig were attacked and burned to the ground by the Sudanese army, causing the displacement of 1,000 to 2,000 civilians,'' says UN Rapporteur.

May 99: Attempt to put government militias in charge of oil installation south of Bentiu leads to open warfare among allies. Forces of Riak Machar are pushed back by Nuer warlord Paulino Matiep's government militiamen, who now guard the area. Machar losing ground .

May 99: Armed forces spokesman Lt-Gen M.O Yassin tells Radio Omdurman that the SPLA has attacked oil installations in the south and east. One attack in April was at Leer in Unity State (Block 5A, the Lundin/IPC-OMV-Petronas consortium), but Talisman say the $1.4-bn Greater Nile Oil Project was not a target and the attack was not near the consortium's project area.

end May 99: Former SPLA Cdr Tito Biel, based near Bentiu and a government ally since 1997, defects from Riak Machar's group. Clashes continue.

July 99: 1,200 government forces sweep through Ruweng County, in Western Upper Nile, killing scores of civilians, abducting hundreds and burning over 6,000 homes. In a 10-day offensive on the edge of the Heglig oilfields, Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery attacked civilians across a 100-km swathe of territory, in violation of a ceasefire signed during last year's famine.

14 July 99: Sudan Government bans all relief flights to people living around the oil fields.

August 99: Talisman Energy says that surging crude oil and natural gas prices helped it pump out a tenfold increase in profit in the second quarter.

September 1999: First shipment of 600,000 barrels leaves Port Sudan. Bargaining ensues over next round of oil deals

September 99: Kerubino Kuanyin is killed as Peter Gadiet and large numbers of Nuer oil zone militia members defect from government side and seek rapprochement with SPLA.

September 99: Film footage of devastation at Gumriak, Ruweng county, is shown on Swedish TV. It prompts outcry against Lundin.

20 September 99: Explosion near Atbara, northern Sudan, holes the oil pipeline. Opposition NDA claims responsibility and warns of further attacks if Talisman does not talk to them.

October 99: Czechs express concern that proposed second military tank consignment to Yemen may end up in Sudan.

21 October 99: Peter Gadiet's forces, aligned with SPLA, reported bombarding Bentiu.

November 99: Japanese oil traders agree deal for crude oil purchase

November 99: Talisman hires Hill & Knowlton PR company, previously employed by BCCI.

November 99: A trial run on the new 50,000-b/d refinery at Jayli, Khartoum, is postponed until March 2000.

November 99: NIF-Umma accord signed in Djibouti.

December 99:  After former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi breaks with the opposition NDA to resume dialogue with the regime, the NDA forms a unified command for its seven remaining armies and escalates the war in the north-east. Competing peace initiatives promoted by East African states and by Libya and Egypt fail to halt the fighting.