Sudan’s oil exports could grow by two thirds

Oct 11, 2005 02:00 AM

Tanker traffic to and from Port Sudan oil terminals will increase next year as the export of crude oil will grow two thirds to 500,000 bpd if peace between north and south is maintained.
Nearly all the crude will be exported to the oil thirsty economies of India, Malaysia and China as respectively, Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Petronas and China National Petroleum Co retain the lion’s share of production.

The government in Khartoum is maintaining its grip on the fields that are pumping around 300,000 bpd in the centre of the country, but until recently had less control over the southern licences. With the formation of a new government, which was held up by the sudden death of former southern rebel leader John Garang in a helicopter crash on July 30, it has regained the initiative.
The National Congress party of northern Sudan and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement have resolved a disagreement over the allocation of the ministry for Energy and Mining (MEM).

Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz eventually retained his position on September 21 as head of MEM, giving French oil giant Total control of the potentially oil rich block B in southern Sudan. The southerners had sought the appointment of former rebel Lam Akol, which would have increased the chances of British exploration company White Nile gaining control of the block.
The appointment came as a surprise as a government adviser told that Mr Akol’s position “had never been on the cards”. However, a potentially more dangerous dispute for the stability of the new government and the Sudanese oil industry is the unresolved question of the division of oil fields in production in the Abyei region.

Both the NC and SPLM lay claim to the territory, that is in one of the transition zones between northern and southern Sudan. The Heglig field, in the Abyei region, had the potential alone of producing 500,000 bpd, and is now linked by a 1,214 km long pipeline to the Bashier crude oil terminal outside Port Sudan.
Terminal facilities are expanding with new 5 mm-barrel holding tanks being built, said Haitham Babikir Yusif, head of information at the MEM. He explained a new export terminal at Bashier was expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Downstream and upstream expansion is also on the way for Sudan that will make it a serious force in the African oil industry. The refining capacity at Geili plant, north of Khartoum, would double from 50,000 bpd currently to 100,000 bpd by the end of the year and would be linked by a 815 dual purpose long pipeline to Port Sudan, said Mr Yusif.
He added that an existing 25,000 bpd refinery at Port Sudan was being overhauled to meet the increased export demand for petroleum products.

In addition a new refinery, half owned by the Sudanese government, and Petronas with an initial capacity of 100,000 bpd is due to be built by 2007 and will be expanded to refine 150,000 bpd.
Also in September Petronas and CNPC were awarded the offshore exploration rights in block 15 south of Port Sudan in the Red Sea to the border of Eritrea.

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