White Nile Being Asked to Relinquish Block Ba in Sudan
White Nile is again seeking clarification of its position regarding Block Ba in Sudan. As reported yesterday, Chairman Phil Edmonds last week met with the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan ("GOSS"), Dr Riek Machar, and Paul Mayom, the Minister of Interior and Chairman of Nile Petroleum Corp ("NilePet"), the Government of Southern Sudan's state owned petroleum company. Both the Vice President and the Chairman of NilePet were members of the Joint Executive Committee of Northern and Southern Sudanese representatives recently convened to discuss oil and other issues in Sudan as a whole. Both confirmed to Mr Edmonds the proposed formation of a newly formed oil consortium with regard to Block B as a whole in Southern Sudan and the participation of NilePet and White Nile therein, together with Total SA, Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company and Sudan National Petroleum Corporation, the state owned oil company of northern Sudan.
White Nile has today been made aware of resolutions of the National Petroleum Commission ('NPC') apparently signed by the Co Chairmen of the NPC on 17 June 2007. This document contains a reference to Resolution No (7), 2007 which reads, "The pulling out of the British White Nile Co from Block B and its removal from entering as partner by purchasing the share of Marathon Co. refrained from the Block." Furthermore, Resolution No (8), 2007 reads "Assignment to the rapporteur of NPC and MEM to assess the assets of British White Nile Co. in Block (B) and Ascom Co. in Block (5B) for settlement and to submit a report to NPC." The Board of White Nile has had no official indication of these resolutions and is contacting government figures in Southern Sudan to account for this new information and clarify the situation.
White Nile is taking all appropriate steps to protect its licence agreement awarded by NilePet. Its 60% rights to Block Ba were granted in April 2005 with NilePet retaining the rights over the remaining 40%. The Board of White Nile was assured by the GOSS that NilePet possessed the legal title for Block Ba as all non-producing oil concessions were placed under NilePet's control in August 2004.
As a result of this agreement and in reliance on assurances from GOSS, the Company has undertaken an extensive exploration programme including seismic operations and identified a number of drill targets, the first of which was being drilled at Kedelai in Block Ba, 200 km due north of Juba, in the Jonglei State of Southern Sudan. Extensive community projects have also been initiated underlying the Company's commitment to the People of Southern Sudan.
The Board retains its belief that the Company's licence remains legally binding. It is seeking urgent meetings with the GOSS to clarify the situation.
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