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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Sudan president orders increase of oil exploration in the north

March 2, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has instructed the country’s Ministry of Oil to intensify oil exploration in north Sudan and take on board new investors.

Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir (File/ Reuters)
Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir (File/ Reuters)
The Sudanese government stands to lose billions of dollars in oil revenues when the region of South Sudan – which accounts for over 75% of the country’s proven production of 500,000 barrel per day – becomes officially independent from the north in July this year.

North and South Sudan have been splitting proceeds of crude oil roughly 50-50 as per a 2005’s peace deal that ended decades of civil war between the two sides.

The two sides are currently negotiating a new oil-sharing deal because the south will need to use the pipeline infrastructure and refineries in the north to export its oil.

In a meeting held in Khartoum on Wednesday with the state minister for oil, Ali Ahmad Osman, Al-Bashir called for widening the scope of oil exploration and assimilating new investors after insuring their financial and technical capabilities.

Al-Bashir also called for enforcing rules and regulations on the companies that do not abide by technical and financial criteria.

For his part, the state minister for oil announced that 70% of the ownership of oil pipelines in squares number 1, 2 and 4 – which are operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company – had been acquired by the Sudanese government.

The minister further said that oil exploration efforts were underway in square 9, 11 and 14 in the northern state as well as square 12 (A) on the borders with Chad.

The Sudanese government says it expects oil production in north Sudan to reach 200,000 barrels per day within 3-5 years.