Khartoum - Sudan Vision interviewed Hamad al Neel Abd al Gadir Hamad al Neel, Oil expert to highlight his rich and varied experience
in the different aspects and fields of Economy and oil in particular. In addition to his social and cultural contributions for tens of years, he wrote many books.
M y life was formed by my father’ job. He was a policeman. I was born in 1945, In a village called Haj Abd Allah . It happened that I worked there, I married my wife from that place . Her sisters came from the north from an area called urdi . We are Donglawin m from my mother side. We are also from Jaaleen tribe. But mainly my father from Aeilafoon , Khartoum east of the Nile, so we lived in Aelafoon . I just came to Khartoum for studying at the University of Khartoum.
I'm very proud to say that my life was so influenced by my grandmother from the eternal side. She is a very great grandmother. She was the first person who got a book for me. Although was illiterate, I remember the name of the book, it was called Shamsoon al Jabar (The great Shamsoon), that it was in Medani . I have my elementary school in Medani. Medani alShargia al Awlia (elementary school). We lived in Wad Medani up to 1960, when my father transferred to Kosti to work there for three years. I was sent to al Dwiem to study at Bakht al Rida school . I joined al Dwiem al Refia (rural intermediate school) . This was a very great School. It was part of the prominent Bakht alRida . Then white Nile Secondary school. After that I joint University of Khartoum, Faculty of Economics and social studies.
My father once was responsible of the police Station in al Jenaid . I was so impressed by al Jenaid Sugar factory. I think because I always fascinated by the idea of input and output. When you see a sugar cane in the factory then you will have sugar. The concept of in-put out-put is exterminated my life, and up till now I believe in that any action has not related to a result is non-sense, very pragmatic that why I found my-self different from others.
I believe in the result, at that time we presume. The graduate presumes, so you were free to choose. I remember when they called us by Radio for interviews I wait till the Ministry of industry interview. We were so lucky; they called by Radio, at time they will employ you before you have your certificate from the University, before graduation. I remember our accountant at the faculty of economics, because we study accountant. They were 7and they were employed before they received their certificates. When went to the interview, we were three, although we were employed at oil office, I was disappointed, for oil industry at that time was not exist. There was not any oil industry in Sudan.
Ministry of industry was a regulatory body .It is not a factory. So for me it was a bad impression, so I was frustrated. When I started working at oil industry office. It was very small office. I remember at that time the energy prices were increased when in 1973 Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised the oil prices and it was coincided with the Arab-Israeli war . The Arab members in OPEC were reduced their production. They used oil as a weapon, so this issue attracted me to this oil industry.
I remember we received some publications from oil ministry; I read them and summarized them all. I found myself in the area of oil marketing, oil prices or something like that. Because this is the down- stream. We started with down- stream, I remember there were four companies working at time in Sudan, they were Shell, Agip , Total and Chevron. They assimilate two other major big companies working from Iran. They supplied to affiliate here. When Arabs took this from them. They were stuck, and they failed to provide oil to Sudan.
At that we were young and energetic, I remember the Ministry of industry was Badr Suleiman, who asked us a question .Can you import oil by yourself ? In theory it was easy, but at that time it seems to be a challenge.
We succeeded. Then the sector developed fast. This was the first beginning of the Governmental oil sector. At that time oil was a product like any other product, sugar at the ministry of Commerce. Before we joined the work at the ministry there were three or four persons were ratified work at the refinery. It is said that oil is not a trade, it is an industry. So it has to be at the ministry of industry. So they formed that small office of ministry of industry.
I’m always talking about a very important issue that is energy security. Energy security is a part of national security. All wars and international interests are on energy. I think all strategies are not necessary as energy even education. Priority is for energy security.
Governments since Independence up till now are struggling for power. Politics is power struggle for resources and chances of the country. People want the resources, they want chances, they want ambitious for indigenous and if you succeeded to take power. Then the other who did not succeed, will work very hard to overthrow you.
The important thing is the oil. That is why no-body keen for example to establish a very strong oil sector, or a very effective education or things like that that is why I think stability is a conditional issue.
Lord Kitchener when came to Sudan, if you read his writings when addressing people for the first time, he said Law and Order. Few years later he said stability and knowledge are very important. That is why the ruling countries are powerful.
I remember when oil was early discovered in Sudan the Government, even the people, the individuals, they don’t like to the oil revenues to be for sustainable development .
* Hamad al Neel Abd al Gadir Hamad Al Neel holds a Bachelor degree in Economics – University of Khartoum
* Diploma in Management – University of Houston
* Diploma in Business Administration – Trinity College, Dublin
* Different training courses in refinery and projects management – Iran , Kuwait and the USA
* He was a chairman of Port Sudan
* He was chairman of al Obeid Refinery
* A Member of board of Directors of Khartoum Refinery
In 1970s when Sudan government decided to establish a regulatory body to regulate the sector, he was one of the first group to this body. From 1970S and before oil discovery in Sudan, he was responsible for crude oil supply to Port Sudan Refinery and distribution of petroleum products in the local markets. Later and after the oil discovery, his role changed to the marketing.
During the peace negotiations between the government of Sudan and the rebels from the Southern Sudan, he was a member of wealth share committee, mainly the oil wealth sharing. He was a member of the joint committee of distribution oil wealth sharing between the north and the South