Darfur rebels halt 50,000 b/d Defra oil production

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 -- Darfur rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Sudan said they attacked the Defra oil facility in south Kordofan, halting an estimated 50,000 b/d of oil production, and that they fended off attacks by central government forces.

If confirmed, the refinery closure would be the third assault since October by JEM rebels against petroleum installations in Kordofan after the group vowed to target Chinese oil firms.

Earlier this month, the rebels claimed one attack, prompting the Chinese government to call for the safety of its oil workers in the country (OGJ Online, Dec. 13, 2007). In October JEM rebels said they attacked the Chinese-run Defra oil field.

The rebels accuse China of indirectly funding Khartoum's war effort in Darfur by investing in Sudan's oil industry. The Sudanese government receives large royalties from estimated production of 500,000 b/d, and JEM says some 70% of the oil revenue goes to the military.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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