Home | News    Monday 10 January 2005

PetroSA to send technicians to explore oil possibilities in the Sudan


By Peter Fabricius

Jan 5, 2005 (LiquidAfrica) — PetroSA, South Africa’s national oil company, is to send technicians to the Sudan to establish whether there are commercially exploitable quantities of oil in an exploration block that it has been allocated.

Last week, President Thabo Mbeki paid a visit to Khartoum where he met his Sudanese counterpart, President Omar al-Beshir. The two leaders agreed to encourage co-operation in the field of oil exploration.

The department of foreign affairs said in a statement before Mbeki’s visit that several South African companies had interests in the Sudan including the Global Railway Engineering Consortium of SA and PetroSA.

PetroSA had signed an agreement with the Sudanese state oil company, Sudapet, for exclusive oil concession rights for oil Block 14 in the Sudan.

"PetroSA has also concluded a capacity building agreement for the development of technical staff in Sudan."

Yesterday, PetroSA said in a statement that Sudan had awarded it a "study agreement" under which it would send technical personnel "to conduct the necessary tests to ascertain the availability of oil in the block allocated".

It added: "Sudan will also send personnel to PetroSA for training to enhance their technical know-how.

"The Sudan will benefit commercially from the venture, while obtaining the critical skills they need to develop their oil industry further.

"The significance of this agreement is that it is an African country-to country partnership, where a win-win solution is pursued in line with the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development."

The Global Railway Engineering Consortium of SA concluded a $21 million (R119 million) contract with the Sudanese Railway Corporation for the rehabilitation of railways and rolling stock on December 9 2004.

During his visit, Mbeki travelled to Kenya to witness the signing of a major peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement of southern Sudan.

The movement would join Khartoum in a transitional government of national unity.

South Africa agreed that, with Unisa, it would train the movement’s leadership in the skills needed to participate in the transitional government.

South Africa is the chair of the African Union (AU) committee on post-conflict reconstruction of war-affected areas in Sudan, and in that capacity, Mbeki visited Sudan’s western Darfur region where warfare continues between the government in Khartoum and its militias and rebels, despite a ceasefire agreement.

Mbeki met government and other officials, including the SA National Defence Force members participating in the AU ceasefire commission.

He also met Sudanese displaced by the war.

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