ENERGY SOURCES AND SUPPLY
In 1990 the chief sources of energy were wood and charcoal, hydroelectric
power, and imported oil. Wood and charcoal were principally used
by households for heating and cooking. Substantial quantities
of wood fuels, amounting to roughly onefifth of the country's
annual consumption, were also used by commercial operations--chiefly
baking and brickmaking and, to a lesser extent, tobacco curing.
Some use was also made of other vegetable matter including sugarcane
bagasse, which met a significant part of the energy needs of the
sugar mills, and cotton stalks, used locally by households. Consumption
of wood and charcoal has continued to increase as the population
has grown, and some concern has been voiced at the gradual depletion
of forest and woodland resources serving the large towns. Overuse
of the sparser vegetation in the semidesert grazing areas reportedly
was resulting in some fuel deficiencies in those regions, as well
as in desertification.
The country's hydroelectric potential has been only partially
exploited. Major undeveloped hydropower sources existed at the
several cataracts on the main Nile downstream from Khartoum. Natural
gas was discovered in the early 1960s along the Red Sea coast
in a fruitless search for petroleum. In the mid-1970s, further
quantities were found during additional oil explorations, but
development was not considered at the time to be commercially
feasible. In October 1988, Sudan announced that natural gas production
would start in one year; presumably this would come from the 85
billion cubic meters of gas reserves Chevron had earlier estimated.
The 1979 and later petroleum discoveries in southern and southwestern
Sudan added a new potential domestic energy source. However, these
deposits to date have yielded little oil because petroleum companies,
such as Chevron, had suspended oilfield explorations in these
regions because of the civil war. Sudan had no known deposits
of coal or lignite as of the early 1990s.
Data as of June 1991