Sudan’s civil war and American sanctions against Khartoum in the 1990s opened the oilfields to China and India. For more than a decade, Sudan fuelled the rise of these national oil companies. But the political turmoil and bloodshed over the division of Africa’s largest country, and the birth of South Sudan, sent Chinese and Indian diplomats scrambling to protect their interests and bring an end to the conflict.
In his new book, “The New Kings of Crude”, Luke Patey describes the oil barons of India and China based on seven years research travelling between the Sudans and Beijing and Delhi where the state-owned oil companies have their headquarters.
He talked to Beth Walker about how Chinese oil companies have been forced to change their approach.
Beth Walker: Amid the intense debate about the impact of China and India on Africa, you argue the influence of Africa on China and India has been neglected. What do you mean?
Luke Patey: Indian and Chinese large multinational corporations have used Africa as a launching pad into the global market place and to make the first big foreign investments overseas. Sudan was the first place the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) – China’s largest national oil company –made a large scale overseas investment. Sudan and South Sudan acted as a vehicle for the company to test its international competitiveness. So Africa has really been a training ground for large state owned Chinese and Indian corporations.
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