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China calls for restraint in Sudan oil dispute
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 21, 2012

China on Saturday urged the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to exercise restraint and "protect the rights of Chinese enterprises" in their territory as the south halted its oil production.

Energy-hungry China depends for more than five percent of its oil imports on South Sudan, a new country long suspicious of Beijing's ties with Khartoum.

"Oil is the economic lifeline shared by Sudan and South Sudan," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said in response to a question on South Sudan's decision.

"We urge the two sides to remain calm and restrained, avoid taking any extreme action and continue working together with mediation by the African Union and other parties to resolve their dispute."

South Sudan on Friday said it planned to stop oil production over a deepening dispute with Sudan over transit fees. It accused the Khartoum government of stealing the oil that transports through the north.

"The Chinese side hopes that the two governments will fulfil their commitment to protecting the legal rights of Chinese enterprises and those of other partners," Liu said.

South Sudan said that it has started taking steps to build a new pipeline through eastern Africa to provide an alternate route to export its oil, the Chinese official Xinhua news agency reported.

The state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has pumped billions of dollars into developing oilfields in Sudan, 80 percent of which lie in the south.

In July, southern Sudan seceded from its larger and long-dominant north and China has sought to maintain good relations with both countries.

China is a key ally of Khartoum, which has suffered from US economic sanctions since 1997.

It is a major military supplier to the Khartoum regime, as well as one of the largest foreign investors and the biggest buyers of Sudanese oil.

Oil price row closes China-built refinery in Chad
Ndjamena (AFP) Jan 19, 2012 - Chad authorities on Thursday shut down a major new oil refinery amid a price row with its Chinese owners, sources said.

The Djarmaya refinery, located 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Chadian capital Ndjamena, was inaugurated last June by President Idriss Deby Itno who described it as a "gift from China" that would offer energy independence to his land-locked central African nation.

It is largely owned by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation International (CNPCI).

"The secretary-general of the trade and industry ministry has closed the Djarmaya refinery," national radio announced.

A disagreement over the price of oil between the Chadian authorities and CNPCI, which owns 60 percent of the refinery, was at the root of the problem, a government source said.

The Chadian state holds the other 40 percent share in the refinery, which cost $60 million to build.

"There is a dialogue of the deaf between the government and the Chinese to the point where industrial units had begun to close down for lack of oil," a member of the government told AFP.

He added that the director general of the plant was now considered "persona non grata and must leave Chad".

The new refinery was designed to produce 20,000 barrels a day and is supplied from oil wells in the southern Bongor region through as a 311-kilometre pipeline.

Chad, which only began to produce oil in 2003, currently produces on average around 120,000 barrels per day, according to Infrastructures Minister Adoum Younoussmi.

CNPCI is a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

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