Sudan Targets Extra 100,000 B/d Output Mid-2009

ROME, April 24, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Sudan is targeting an increase of 100,000 barrels of oil a day mid-2009 as the result of new investments, particularly Chinese, come on stream, the Sudan oil minister has said.

In an interview this week with Dow Jones Newswires, Zubair Ahmed al-Hassan said the African country plans a daily output of 600,000 barrels mid-2009, compared with 500,000 now.

The country holds one of Africa's largest proven oil reserves at 6.4 billion barrels but growth in output has been hindered by a civil war in the South that formally ended in 2005.

The minister said the projects that will fuel this output hike will include a ramp up of Block 6 in the South West of the country. He said the operator, China national Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, intends to increase production from 40,000 barrels a day to 60,000 this year.

The recent discovery of light oil on this block should help production rise on this block, he added.

He said exploration on Red Sea blocks 13 and 15, in which CNPC is also a shareholder, offered the possibility of production development. "Signs of gas" have been detected in these blocks, which could be used for electricity generation and, as a second option, for industries or liquefied-natural-gas exports, he said.

Among other prospects for oil output growth, South Africa's national oil company PetroSA started seismic work earlier this year in Block 14, a Northern block bordering Egypt and Libya, he said.

PetroSA couldn't immediately comment.

Al-Hassan also said Sudan is mulling joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a program that aims at improving resources revenue transparency by governments and companies.

"We are considering it," he said, adding that the 2005 peace agreement between North and South Sudan already stipulates extensive disclosures.

ROME, April 24, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)