Crude Oil Qualities in Sudan and South Sudan
Sudan produces two main blends of crude oil: Nile, a light, sweet and waxy blend, and Dar, a heavy and sour blend that is more difficult to refine. As such, Nile blend is sold at much higher prices than Dar, according to an April 2008 report funded by the European Union. Sudan also produces the highly acidic Fula blend, from the fields of the same name located in northwestern Sudan, which is processed mostly for Sudan's domestic use.
Nile blend is a light, sweet waxy crude located mostly in the Muglad Basin of southern Sudan. Nile blend had an API gravity high of 36.2, reported in April 2000, which subsequently declined to 33.7 API by June 2002, indicating a somewhat heavier crude than previously reported. Nile has a 0.05 weight percentage of sulfur. The first exports of Nile blend began in September 1999, through a pipeline to an export terminal on the Red Sea.
The low quality Dar blend is found in the Melut Basin east of the White Nile, mostly in southern Sudan. Dar blend has a gravity of 26.4 API, according to energy consultancy Platts, and a sulphur content of 0.12 percent. Because Dar is a heavy paraffinic oil, it needs to be transported at high temperatures (45-50 degrees celsius) to avoid congealing in its storage tanks in ships. Additionally, its high acidity means that it will erode ordinary refinery metalwork. Dar blend contains high levels of Arsenic, which acts as a pollutant to refinery catalysts. The combined effects of these properties make it unacceptable for many customers; some customers, meanwhile, blend it with other components in order to sell it as fuel oil. As of 2008, plans were in place to build a refinery at Port Sudan to treat Dar blend, but as of June 2012 construction on this refinery had not yet begun.
- "Oil production estimates for Sudan and South Sudan are cut amid revenue-sharing dispute" International Energy Agency, 15 February 2012.
- "[http://www.scribd.com/doc/95691410/16/Nile-Blend-versus-Dar-Blend SUDAN’S OIL INDUSTRY Facts and Analysis, April 2008]" European Union, April 2008.
- "Sudan and South Sudan’s Oil Industries: Growing Political Tensions" Civil-Military Fusion Center, May 2012.
- "Sudan Oil Blocks" Sudan News, 17 November 2010.
- "Crude Grade : NILE BLEND" Petro Tech Intel, Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "SUDAN’S OIL INDUSTRY Facts and Analysis, April 2008" European Union, April 2008.
- "METHODOLOGY AND SPECIFICATIONS GUIDE" Platts, May 2012.