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Sudan determined to increase oil production – minister

May 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese petroleum minister, Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, pledged Saturday to implement government’s plans to increase oil production this year despite the damage caused to the oil installations in Heglig last April during South Sudan’s 10-day occupation of the area.

Sudan which produces some 115,000 barrels per day, resumed oil production in Heglig oil fields on 2 May after repairing power stations, pipelines and the central processing unit. Before the 10 April occupation the area produced about the half of Sudan’s oil output, which is about 55,000 barrels per day.

Unconfirmed reports say Sudan produces currently about 30,000 barrels per day from Heglig after the damages that affected the installations. South Sudan says it’s army (SPLA) occupied Heglig after Sudan’s army (SAF) used the area to launch ground and air attacks. Khartoum denies this, and accuses the SPLA of deliberately sabotaging the infrastructure. The SPLA. however, say that any damage caused was from SAF bombings.

Speaking from Heglig to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA), the minister said he was determined to increase the oil produced from the Heglig fields, which are operated by a consortium of Chinese, Malaysia, Indian and Sudanese companies, called the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Comapany (GNPOC).

The minister was in Heglig to inspect the ongoing works to restore old power stations and to establish additional stations to cover the needs in electricity of all the oil wells in the region.

In January Sudan said it was planning to boost its production to 180,000 barrels per day.

Azhari Abdalla, director general of the Oil Exploration and Production Administration (OEPA), earlier this year told Reuters that the recovery rate of the existing fields will be improved to 47% from the current 23%.

He added that new finds in Block 17 and the recent discovery of Block 6 will also contribute to increase the income generated by oil fields.

However, security concerns might hamper the implementation of these plans. The attack on Heglig is seen as good example of what can happen in other oil producing areas in South Kordofan and Darfur.

Sudan is facing an severe economic crisis due to the lost of South Sudanese oil production after the independence of the later in July 2011.

(ST)