September 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The federal Ministry of Oil in Sudan has expressed frustration at the slow pace of oil exploration activities in the country’s western region Darfur, demanding the local government in East Darfur State to provide security for the companies set to operate in the volatile territory.
Sudan announced in October 2010 the beginning of oil exploration activities in three locations in Block 12B in the southeast parts of Darfur region, the scene of an eight year conflict, but gave no details of the companies involved.
Faisal Hamad, minister of state at the oil ministry, voiced dissatisfaction in a meeting he held on Thursday with East Darfur governor over the slowness of oil exploration activities in the state. The minister said that the government is planning to accelerate oil production activities across the country in order to eliminate the need for imported fuel which, according to him, costs the government 100 million US dollars monthly.
The minister asked the governor to provide security for the next three months the companies involved in the three target areas in order to enable them to conduct geological surveys. He added that the surveys would cover a space of 700,000 km in order to confirm the evidences indicating the existence of oil.
The minister revealed that China’s PetroEnergy will be operating the fields for three months. For his part, East Darfur governor, Mohammed Hamid Fadul, pledged to provide security to the companies but he in return he asked the ministry to ensure timely release of compensations to the citizens who would be affected by oil exploration operations. He warned that any delay in paying compensations would derail production.
Sudan oil sector, which produces 115.000 barrels a day, is dominated by Chinese companies. The east African country experienced a hiatus in oil production during the ten-day occupation of Helglig oilfields by South Sudan in April this year.
Darfur region has been witnessing an upsurge of violence in recent months due to ethnic clashes in the northern part of the region and increased activities by rebel groups in the southern part.