Fuel crisis worsening in Khartoum

Amid the ongoing armed conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that erupted more than five months ago, the suffering of the residents of the capital, Khartoum, and other cities has intensified due to a severe fuel shortage. Fuel prices have increased significantly, with the price of a gallon of gasoline (4.5 liters) reaching 35,000 Sudanese pounds (58 US dollars) in the black market.

This came after all fuel stations in the Sudanese capital ceased operations and were subjected to looting and vandalism amidst the ongoing clashes. This led to the resurgence of the black market and a significant jump in fuel prices, as the price of a gallon of gasoline was not more than 3,600 Sudanese pounds before the outbreak of the conflict in mid-April.

El Jameel El Nair, the director of a network of fuel stations in Khartoum, stated that the Sudanese Ministry of Energy had stopped supplying fuel stations in the capital since the war began between the army and the RSF.

He explained that the current circumstances in Khartoum do not allow for the supply of fuel to the stations, “so it is smuggled from the states to the capital and sold in the black market.”

El Nair pointed out that all the fuel stations he manages, totalling 17 stations distributed across the three capital cities (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum Bahri), have been looted and vandalized by groups wearing military uniforms, just like most fuel stations in Khartoum.

The army withholds fuel

Khaled Essam, a fuel trader in the black market, said, “At the beginning of the war, fuel used to come to us from the city of Shendi in River Nile State and Northern State.”

He added, “But about a month ago, the army prohibited fuel from entering the capital out of fear that it would leak to the RSF, which caused a major crisis.” He also noted that the fuel scarcity has caused the gallon’s price to increase dramatically to reach 35,000 Sudanese pounds and sometimes even 40,000.

Khalid Essam complained that traders suffer from repeated looting by military forces while selling fuel in the markets. He explained that traders resort to tricks to sell fuel, such as pretending to sell water bottles while hiding the fuel inside the shops and bringing it out when someone requests fuel.

Mohammed Ibrahim, a taxi driver, has stopped working for over a month due to the fuel shortage. He used to transport passengers from North Omdurman to Shendi City in the River Nile State, 181 kilometers north of the capital. He stated that there is a fuel shortage even in the River Nile State, although the war did not reach it. Ibrahim mentioned that getting fuel there sometimes requires waiting up to 4 days at fuel stations.

Ibrahim, who travels between Khartoum and the River Nile State due to his work, also pointed out that internal transportation has also been affected by the fuel crisis.

Double struggle

Suzan Atallah, a resident of Omdurman, is facing a double struggle due to the ongoing fighting that causes long power outages. This has forced people to buy backup generators, but they are now facing a dual problem trying to obtain even a single gallon of fuel to run these generators during power outages.

She mentioned that her elderly mother, who lives with her and suffers from a chronic illness, experiences many hardships during power outages that last for hours. She stated sadly, “We need just one gallon to help us run the generator during power outages.”

A source from the Sudanese Ministry of Energy confirmed that the ministry had stopped supplying neighbouring states of Khartoum with fuel, especially gasoline, out of fear that it might be smuggled to the RSF.

The source also mentioned that the Jili Refinery in North Khartoum Bahri, which is the main refinery in Sudan, has completely stopped working after the RSF took control of it in the early days of the conflict.

The refinery used to produce 100,000 barrels per day, which is equivalent to 40-45% of the country’s fuel needs. The Ministry of Energy used to import the remaining quantities to fill the gap.

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