Sudan's White Nile Petroleum Finds Dry Gas in Block 8

ABU DHABI (Zawya Dow Jones), Jun. 1, 2009

White Nile Petroleum Operating Co., or WNPOC, has discovered significant amounts of dry, non-associated natural gas in onshore block eight, the company's Vice President Ali Faroug Abbas said Monday.

"We discovered gas in two wells -- Hosan and Tawakul -- in block eight," Abbas told Zawya Dow Jones in an exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

"Our plan now is to explore for more gas and oil in this block, and to commercialize it," Abbas said.

WNPOC, in which Sudan National Petroleum Corp., or Sudapet, and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, each own 50%, made a 108 billion cubic feet discovery in the block in March. In November, the company found 15 billion cubic feet of gas reserves at Hosan, Abbas said.

"We are hopeful we will find more gas in block eight. The potential (after initial tests) is for 16 trillion to 20 trillion cubic feet," he added.

The latest announcement comes as Sudan, Africa's largest state, prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary of becoming an oil exporting country. Sudan is presently pumping about 520,000 barrels a day of crude.

So far, the only other gas discovery in Sudan was made in 2005 by Petroenergy E&P, which is a joint venture between Sudapet and China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, in block six. The gas will be used to fire a 400 megawatt power plant in the area.

The gas discovered in block eight will also be utilized domestically, with Sudapet and Petronas presently screening potential power generation and fertilizer projects. Revenues generated will go towards further gas exploration, Abbas said.

"If this potential is realized we will start exporting gas to the east, to countries like Korea, China, Japan and Malaysia but it is unlikely to go to the West until sanctions are lifted," Abbas said.  

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