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Sudanese petroleum minister: International oil companies to re-invest in Sudan

Image of a oil drilling rig [file photo]
Oil drilling rig [file photo]

The US government lift of trade and economic sanctions on Sudan would lure international investments in the Sudanese energy industry, Sudanese Minister of Petroleum and Gas Mohamed Zayed Awad told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

He added that the US decision to ease sanctions on Sudan would allow the country to take advantage of the modern technology in the oil and gas industry, which he believed to positively impact Sudan’s crude oil production and attract foreign investment.

Awad noted that the ministry will set a strategy to promote energy investment opportunities through announcing gas exploration tenders. “The ministry will announce international oil and gas tender in March for companies who are interested to invest in the Sudanese market”, the minister pledged.

On Friday, The United States announced the end of a 20-year economic embargo on Sudan, lifting trade and financial sanctions in an effort to foster ties with the Sudanese government.

The move, which came as a result of Sudan’s efforts to improve security in the region, stipulates Sudan to trade extensively with the United States allowing it to buy goods like tractors and spare parts and attract much-needed investment in its collapsing economy. It will also release frozen Sudanese property and assets held in the US, and permits the trade with the oil and gas industry in Sudan.

However, some US sanctions tied to Sudan’s “state sponsor of terrorism” title remain in place, including a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on Darfur-related sanctions remain in effect, according to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera.

Many international petroleum companies, such as Shlumberger (American) and Talisman Energy (Canadian), had quit the Sudanese market following pressures from the Obama’s administration.

In 1975, the American multinational energy corporation, Chevron, started the first oil exploration activity in Sudan. It had quit the market following a civil war that has erupted in southern Sudan.

Sudan currently produces 115 oil barrels on a daily bases. Since the separation from the Southern Sudan in 2011, the country’s oil reserves amounts to 24.5 billion barrels, according to official data.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton imposed a comprehensive trade embargo against Sudan and blocked the assets of the Sudanese government, which was suspected of sponsoring international terrorism. During the time, the American-Sudanese relations have steadily soured.

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