Sudan's oil trade has yet to flow after military coup



LONDON/CAIRO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - A blockade of Sudan's main port that has disrupted oil tanker flows for weeks has yet to ease after the country's military seized power in a coup on Monday, oil and shipping sources said.

The country relies on Port Sudan, its main shipping terminal, for 90% of its trade.

Prior to Monday's military takeover, a month-long blockade of Port Sudan by tribesmen calling for political overhaul was already threatening the country's recovery from a deep economic crisis.

Sudan's Beja Council, which is implementing the blockade and is influential in the Eastern region, said it supported the military and that it would end or at least ease the shutdown that has affected the wider Eastern region, as well as the port, Saudi-owned al-Hadath TV reported on Monday.

But some in the shipping industry said continued uncertainty could create further difficulties with cargo payments and add to logistics problems.

"This (the military takeover) could lead to even more disruptions for oil product imports into Port Sudan and greater discharging delays," said Richard Matthews, head of research with leading ship broker EA Gibson.

At least nine tankers were anchored outside Sudanese waters on Monday with seven listed as bound for Port Sudan and the others for other smaller Sudanese ports, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed.

Four of the tankers were listed as having been expected to arrive into Port Sudan in August, the data showed.

On Saturday, cabinet affairs minister Khalid Omer Yousif, who is under arrest, said the supply of petrol for cars was stable, while cooking gas and diesel availability had been impacted. Shipments of fuel oil used to generate electricity were waiting outside Port Sudan, Yousif said, adding there was no supply in the country.

A small producer, Sudan in September pumped 60,000 barrels per day, according to estimates from S&P Global Platts and Petroleum Argus, below its target set by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+).

The majority of Sudan's production is for local consumption.
Reporting by Jonathan Saul and Julia Payne in London and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo, additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London; editing by Pratima Desai and Barbara Lewis

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