Malaysian firms to gain from Sudan peace

Jan 13, 2005 01:00 AM

Malaysian oil and gas companies led by Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) are in a better position to do business in Sudan following the arrival of peace in the previously troubled oil-rich nation, an analyst said.
Petronas has been in Sudan for a long time, and in the past had to fend off hardship in running operations in that country and face possible attacks from rebels and even economic sanctions. Given the latest scenario, the analyst feels that Petronas has the edge over other companies to expand further in Sudan's oil and gas industry.
"Logically, everybody welcomes the peace process in Sudan and naturally, if things get better, as speculated, many companies which had pulled out from investing in Sudan will return as there will be less pressure from their shareholders and sanctions," the analyst said.

Earlier, the Sudanese Government and rebels in the country's south signed a comprehensive peace deal, ending Africa's longest civil war. Sudan's First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and John Garang, chairman of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, signed the accord in Nairobi, Kenya.
With the peace deal, Sudan is expected to open up more oil and gas exploration areas which were inaccessible during the war. Experts are predicting oil and gas companies will rush in to expand Sudan's oil production from the 345,000 bpd recorded in June 2004. Sudan has proven reserves of 635 mm barrels, much of which was inaccessible during the war.

Despite the positive outlook, the analyst cautioned Malaysian companies to perform and deliver the tasks awarded to them by the Sudanese Government. Petronas, which set up its first operations in Sudan in 1996, is a partner in PetroDar Operating Co, a co-venture entity comprising several national oil companies that holds the rights for exploration and development of the contract areas, Block 3 and Block 7, in south-east Sudan.
These areas, identified as the Melut Basin in Sudan, have proven to be a rewarding business destination for several Malaysian companies, which have secured some $ 900 mm ($ 1 = RM 3.80) worth of jobs there. The jobs are mostly related to engineering, fabrication and construction in the oil and gas sector.

Companies like Peremba Construction, MMC, Ranhill, Sapura and Nam Fatt are some of the Malaysian companies that have secured contracts from the Sudanese Government.

Source: Business Times
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