Saturday, April 15, 2006


Chad threatens to halt oil output.
By Stephanie Hancock BBC News, N'Djamena.

Chadian President Idriss Deby and the World Bank are at loggerheads. Chad has threatened to stop oil production next week if it does not immediately receive several months' worth of oil revenues. It wants the US-led consortium that runs Chad's pipeline to hand over $100m (£57m) it says it is owed by Tuesday.

The row over the country's oil wealth has been brewing for months. Last December the Chadian government fell out with the World Bank, after it changed a law which carefully controlled how oil revenues were spent. The World Bank, which financially backs the oil project, repeatedly asked Chad not to change the law but it went ahead anyway. In response, the Bank froze all payments of oil revenues to the government. Since then, it is the consortium which runs the pipeline led by US oil giant Exxon Mobil, which has been storing Chad's share of the oil profits.
Five months of talks between Chad and the World Bank have failed to break the stalemate and the government has now issued its ultimatum.

The consortium must hand over $100 million Chad is owed by noon on Tuesday, otherwise the pipeline will be shut. And if the flow of oil is stopped, the huge profits enjoyed by oil companies here will dry up along with the pipeline. The row over unpaid oil revenues comes at the end of a tumultuous week for the country, when a rebel attack in the capital killed scores of people.



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