PARIS, Dec 21 (AFP) — French oil giant Total said Tuesday it had updated a contract with Sudan but would return to the country only if peace took hold.
Total said it had recently concluded a deal with the Sudanese authorities to update a 1980 production-sharing contract.
However, it added: “Operations will not be resumed until peace and genuine, lasting security have been restored in the region.”
Total has a 32.5 percent interest in a 118,000-square-kilometre (45,560 square miles) exploration block in southeastern Sudan under a production sharing contract with Marathon Petroleum Sudan (32.5 percent), Kufpec Sudan (25 percent) and state-owned Sudapet (10 percent).
Operations were suspended in 1985 amid deteriorating security conditions in southern Sudan, the company said.
But new talks between authorities and Total followed the start of negotiations between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and had culminated in an updated contract that took into “account of new international industry standards, particularly in relation to corporate social responsibility,” Total said.
A government negotiator said Tuesday in a Sudanese daily the last obstacles to a peace deal between Khartoum and southern rebels will be overcome this week and a settlement signed before December 31,.
Sudan produces more than 250,000 barrels of oil a day, and the resource has been blamed for fueling conflicts in the vast African nation.
Central Sudan is home to numerous armed groups, with shifting alliances, mostly between pro- and anti-Khartoum forces.