Sudan inks oil field deal with ONGC consortium

Khartoum, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2005, 05:50am hrs
Sudan has signed a $400 million deal to develop its southern Thar Jath oil fields to an initial capacity of 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of March 2006, the oil ministry said in a statement. The deal was signed late Sunday with the Sudanese White Nile Petroleum company a consortium of Malaysian state oil firm Petronas, which owns 68%, ONGC, which has a 24% stake and Sudans state oil company Sudapet with 7%. The remaining 1% is divided between the three companies, an oil ministry official said.

It said the reserves of the Thar Jath oil fields, in Block 5A in the southern Unity state, were estimated at a minimum of 250 million barrels.

White Nile Petroleum is expected to dig 45 wells in the coming year, it added. Sudans main oil fields are in the south, and disputes over oil fuelled a civil war there for more than two decades, claiming 2 million lives mostly from hunger and disease.

A peace deal signed in January ended Africas longest civil war and has revived interest in Sudans potential oil reserves. The deal states both sides will respect any oil contract signed before the date of the peace deal Jan. 9, 2005 and any deals after a new government of unity is formed will be decided by a joint petroleum commission from the national energy and mining ministry.

But an official from the former southern rebel group the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) has said it has signed a deal with a London-listed company called White Nile, giving it part of block B in SPLA-controlled areas.