South Sudan has diverted crude worth $1.6bn to Sudan in the past three years to pay off arrears in transit and compensation levies. Despite claims to the contrary there appears to be no end in sight to such transfers.

More than four years into a civil war that seems as impervious to resolution as ever, South Sudan’s president admits that Juba’s central bank is “empty.” Notwithstanding the cost of the war effort, MEES analysis of oil marketing data over the past three...