Sudan, a relatively small African oil producer plagued by economic hardships since South Sudan seceded in 2011, wants to attract oil investments and will launch an exploration bid round next year, Sudan’s Petroleum Minister Azhari Abdalla said on Wednesday.
“Sudan has been suffering for quite some time, we feel confident that now is really the time for a second boom in this country,” South African news outlet SowetanLIVE quoted Abdalla as saying at a press conference at the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town.
“We are open and willing to receive whoever wants to come and invest in our country with an open mind and open arms — no restrictions whatsoever,” Abdalla said.
South Sudan broke from Sudan in 2011 and took with it around 350,000 bpd in oil production. After South Sudan’s secession from Sudan, the two countries have been mutually dependent on oil revenues, because the south has 75 percent of the oil reserves, while the north has the only current transport route for the oil to international markets.
But then civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013 that further complicated oil production. And the oil price crash the following year additionally affected oil income for the ravaged economies of both countries.
Some of the U.S. sanctions on Sudan were partially lifted in October 2017, but Sudan’s economy has failed to lift off since then.
A severe economic crisis is raging in the country, where banks have put limits on withdrawals. The government has pledged a 15-month austerity program in hopes of stabilizing the economy. According to the IMF, Sudan’s economy will shrink by 2.3 percent this year, while inflation will reach 61.8 percent.
Yet, Sudan hopes to increase its crude oil production from the current 75,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd within a year. The country also targets to start exports of oil within the next three to five years.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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