Sudanese Oil Minister, Mohamed Zayed Awad, held discussions with officials from the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to build the first gas pipeline in Sudan and to develop crude and gas industry in the east African country, SudanTribune reported.

The negotiations aimed at developing the crude and gas extraction systems in Sudan in order to increase national production. In addition, the minister said he had also discussed the signing of a partnership deal with an unnamed Chinese natural gas company for the construction of natural gas processing facilities and deposits in the country.

Amid low crude oil prices, Sudan seeks to develop natural gas industry, Awad said, according to NaturalGasAsia and in line with an agreement reached in September 2015, China will explore for oil and gas in the Red Sea, Sinnar, and West Kordofan.

China, which is the largest foreign investor in Sudan, agreed in 2015 to embark on new oil and gas explorations and to expand its oil  and natural gas operations in Sudan.

Earlier, Sudan had also offered three oil and gas blocks to India’s ONGC Videsh.