Global Witness, a non-governmental organization based in London and Washington, obtained satellite photographs showing that exploration for oil is ongoing in an area in the far north of Darfur. In a report issued by the NGO, a satellite image taken in January 2010 shows signs of seismic exploration activities in the northwest of Sudan’s Block 12 oil concession in the desert of North Darfur near the Libyan border. Global Witness stated that its photos show activities during the period of September 2009 to March 2010. The oil concession there is owned by the Great Sahara Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium of Yemeni, Saudi, Jordanian, Libyan and Sudanese companies. Global Witness informed two of the companies in the consortium, Ansan Wikfs and Al Qahtani, of its findings in advance of publication; neither had any comment.
In reaction to the news, a Sudan Liberation Movement faction accused the government of stealing oil in North Darfur without the knowledge of the people of the region. A commander of the movement, Ibrahim Al Hilu said the government had been secretly prospecting for oil in North Darfur. He demanded that oil drilling and investment in Darfur be done with the knowledge and participation of the people of Darfur so that the revenues may benefit the people, rather than going to the pockets of the National Congress.
(Photo by DigitalGlobe, Inc. via Global Witness, camp in block 12A, January 2010.)