Title: Sudan to lift oil output with new wells: minister
Author: AFP Agence France Presse
Date: 03-20-2015, 00:17 AM
11:17 PM Mar, 20 2015
AFP Agence France Presse-
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Sudan's oil minister Makawi Mohammed Awad during an interview with AFP at his office in the Ministry of Petroleum in Khartoum on March 19, 2015View Photo
Sudan's oil minister Makawi Mohammed Awad during an interview with AFP at his office in the Ministry of Petroleum in Khartoum on March 19, 2015
Sudan hopes to boost oil production by carrying out exploration and drilling wells in new areas including conflict-hit Darfur, its oil minister Makawi Mohammed Awad said on Thursday.
"Our plan for this year is to raise production to 140,000 barrels per day" (bpd) up from 120,000 bpd in 2014, Awad said in an interview with AFP.
When South Sudan seceded in July 2011, Khartoum lost around three quarters of its oil production in a heavy blow to the economy.
But crude oil export earnings still brought Sudan $2.4 billion in 2014, according the International Monetary Fund.
Khartoum hopes to boost output further "by drilling new wells and repairing existing wells and increasing exploratory studies and bringing online new fields," Awad said.
One of the areas for development is in an area known as Block 12A in North Darfur where "the drilling of the first well has started and there are indicators of oil and the Saudi Al-Qahtani company is working," Awad said.
The western Darfur region has been gripped by a bloody conflict since 2003 when mostly black African insurgents rebelled against Khartoum's Arab-dominated government.
Further north near Sudan's porous border with Egypt and Libya, a South African company has been carrying out exploration in an area known as Block 14, Awad said.
"We will start work in it this year and build on the study by this company," the minister said.
Most of Sudan's oil is located along the border with South Sudan.
Oil was first discovered in Sudan in the late 1970s, but the country's 22-year civil war that began in 1983 meant production only started in the 1990s.
In 1997, the US imposed a trade embargo on Sudan over charges including rights abuses, and Awad said sanctions were still harming the sector.
"I hope that they lift the sanctions because they affect some of the technology used in the oil sector and if there was no embargo our situation might be better," Awad said.
"The American sanctions led to the withdrawal of some companies from the blocks," he added, without naming the firms.
Last month, Washington eased some sanctions against Sudan by allowing Americans to send some communications hardware and software into the country.
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