book image



The need for oil in Asia’s new industrial powers, China and India, has grown dramatically. The New Kings of Crude takes the reader from the dusty streets of an African capital to Asia’s glistening corporate towers to provide a first look at how the world’s rising economies established new international oil empires in Sudan, amid one of Africa’s longest-running and deadliest civil wars. For over a decade, Sudan fuelled the international rise of Chinese and Indian national oil companies. But the political turmoil surrounding the historic division of Africa’s largest country, with the birth of South Sudan, challenged Asia’s oil giants to chart a new course.

Luke Patey weaves together the stories of hardened oilmen, powerful politicians, rebel fighters, and human rights activists to show how the lure of oil brought China and India into Sudan—only later to ensnare both in the messy politics of a divided country. His book also introduces the reader to the Chinese and Indian oilmen and politicians who were willing to become entangled in an African civil war in the pursuit of the world’s most coveted resource. It offers a portrait of the challenges China and India are increasingly facing as emerging powers in the world.


‘To grasp the new world of oil, you must plumb China’s role in Africa. Only, no one has penetrated it — until Luke Patey in his very welcome new book.’
Steve LeVine, author, The Oil and the Glory
‘As Mr Patey writes, despite worsening returns and growing unease, Sudan remains the “largest overseas achievement” of the state-owned oil companies of both China and India. […] Patey’s book has pen-portraits of the individuals who spearheaded and maintained exploration programmes in Sudan, … the “new kings of crude” [who] may yet have a role in trying to quell the violence in the two Sudans.’
The Economist, read full review here
The New Kings of Crude is a clear-eyed account of the machinations of the newest players in the global oil business… Patey sketches deft portraits of the principal personalities and institutions that shaped the development of the petroleum sector in Sudan, China and India.’
Business Standard, read full review here
‘Over thirty-five years, Sudan has been a crucible for both American and Asian oil policies: not only have Sudan’s war and government been deeply influenced by the politics and finance of oil, but the battles over Sudan’s oil production have had a remarkable influence on the global petroleum business. Luke Patey’s remarkable book— an indispensable and comprehensive account of the encounter between big oil and Sudan — includes important new material on China’s strategy of internationalizing oil production and India’s seminal but under-recognized entry into the global oil business.’
Alex de Waal, Executive Director, The World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School, Tufts University
‘An important, rigorously researched and fully documented book …[that] will undoubtedly become the standard reference text for those interested in the history and evolution of the oil industry in Sudan and South Sudan and the implications it has for the political economy of those countries… the latter part of the book reads more like a thriller [than] a detailed history book, engaging and absorbing the reader in the complexities it illuminates.’
Pádraig Carmody, China Quarterly, read full review here
‘Luke Patey has writ­ten a thor­oughly engag­ing book on the impact of Africa’s longest-running civil wars in Sudan on the global ambi­tions of Chi­nese and Indian national oil com­pa­nies. He lucidly explores how this now divided coun­try shaped and con­strained the aspi­ra­tions of these oil giants, and explains excel­lently the influ­ence and lim­i­ta­tions of Asia’s two pow­er­ful coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly China, on their national oil com­pa­nies.’
Com­fort Ero, Africa Pro­gram Direc­tor, Inter­na­tional Cri­sis Group
‘Patey’s book is metic­u­lously researched, mix­ing knowl­edge and in-depth analy­sis of the oil indus­try in both Sudans in the con­text in the coun­tries’ con­flicts… a must for Sudan watch­ers, China watch­ers and those who watch the twists and turns of the global oil and energy indus­tries.’ 
Keith Somerville, Senior Research Fel­low at the Insti­tute of Com­mon­wealth Stud­ies, Uni­ver­sity of London, read full review here
‘…an intri­cately researched book … Patey’s mas­tery of the sub­ject is clear, and this long-form analy­sis is a wel­come addi­tion to a sur­pris­ingly empty book­shelf on the sub­ject. … The New Kings of Crude is writ­ten in a per­son­able and character-driven style, mak­ing it acces­si­ble to the gen­eral reader and those with an aca­d­e­mic inter­est. Its great­est strength, how­ever, is that it pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive his­tory to the never-ending com­plex­i­ties of Sudanese pol­i­tics which con­tinue to dic­tate events to this day.’ 
Think Africa Press
‘[Patey] presents a solid, exhaus­tive account of how Sudan, while allow­ing China and India to expand their inter­na­tional foot­prints, proved a coming-of-age for both. The schol­ar­ship is obvi­ous, but Patey also tells a crack­ing tale.’ 
 Anthea Pitt, Petro­leum Econ­o­mist, read full review here
‘Rather than describing a passive engagement with external actors that so often is used to define African countries’ policies, this book offers a refreshing look at Africa’s direct engagement and influence through its civil wars, rebellions, trade, and resources—proving an indispensable read for a clear understanding of the issues surrounding Sudan and South Sudan’s current crisis.’
LSE Review of Books, read full review here
‘Patey’s core message is surely a sound one: “China” and “India” are not monolithic actors; even state corporations have their own internal dynamics, and their own interests, and have limited leverage over the sovereign governments with which they deal. The new “kings of crude” rest uneasily on their thrones.’
Justin Willis, African Affairs, read full review here

Sudan Looks East cover


By suc­cess­fully turn­ing to China, Malaysia and India from the mid-1990s, amidst civil war and polit­i­cal iso­la­tion, Khartoum’s ‘Look East’ pol­icy trans­formed Sudan’s econ­omy and for­eign rela­tions. Sudan, in turn, has been a key the­atre of Chi­nese, Indian and Malaysian over­seas energy invest­ment. What began as eco­nomic engage­ments born of prag­matic neces­sity later became politi­cized within Sudan and with­out, result­ing in global atten­tion. Despite its impor­tance, wide­spread sus­tained inter­est and con­tin­u­ing polit­i­cal con­tro­versy, there is no sin­gle vol­ume pub­li­ca­tion exam­in­ing the rise and nature of Chi­nese, Malaysian and Indian inter­ests in Sudan, their eco­nomic and polit­i­cal con­se­quences, and role in Sudan’s for­eign rela­tions. Address­ing this gap, this book pro­vides a ground­break­ing analy­sis of Sudan’s ‘Look East’ pol­icy. It offers the first sub­stan­tive treat­ment of a sub­ject of fun­da­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance within Sudan that, addi­tion­ally, has become a glob­ally promi­nent dimen­sion of its chang­ing inter­na­tional pol­i­tics (co-edited with Daniel Large).