June 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) –Sudanese oil minister Makkawi Mohamed Awad announced on Monday that an agreement will be signed with a number of Chinese companies by which Khartoum will assume full ownership of the oil pipeline that extends to the South by the end of 2016.
- A Sudanese engineer points to a damaged section on an oil pipeline in Heglig on 23 April 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
Awad made the revelation during the meeting of the economic sector ministers chaired by second vice-president Hassabo Abdul-Rahman.
Khartoum used the oil pipeline as leverage in its conflict with Juba, and Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir ordered its closure more than once to block oil flow from landlocked South Sudan. This prompted the latter to announce its intention several times in the past to build an alternative line through Ethiopia or Kenya.
The 1,610 kilometers pipeline cuts through the oil production fields in Heglig and passes through Khartoum and al-Obaid refineries all the way to Bashayer sea port on the Red Sea which lies south of the city of Port Sudan.
The $1 billion pipeline has a 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity and its construction was carried out by several specialised foreign companies, all operating under the supervision of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC).
It was formally inaugurated on 30 June 1999.
In a related issue, the Minister of Electricity and Water Resources, Moatez Moussa said a delegation comprised of the ministers of finance and oil as well as officials from thermal generation company will visit China this week to follow up on a number of issues, including problems related to the electricity sector in Sudan.
He disclosed that their main goal is to convince Chinese contractors to resume working on al-Foula electricity plant which was suspended in 2011 as a result of funding issues.