Sudan is targeting 600,000 barrels a day of crude oil production in 2009 from 500,000 barrels a day expected by the end of this year, Sudan’s minister of energy and mining said.

The country won’t seek to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in the near future, Minister Al Zubair Ahmed Al Hassan said.

"We have no plan to seek OPEC membership. We are too small. We seek bigger production," he said.

Sudan is having little difficulty receiving customer payments despite the global financial crisis, he added.

In April of this year, the minister said the increase in output of 100,000 barrels a day will come from new investments, particularly by the Chinese.

The projects that will fuel this output hike will include a ramp up of Block 6 in the Southwest of the country. The operator, China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, intends to increase production from 40,000 barrels a day to 60,000 this year, the minister said earlier this year.

The country’s proven oil reserves are among Africa’s largest at 6.4 billion barrels, but growth in output has been hindered by a civil war in the South that formally ended in 2005.

(Dow Jones & Rigzone)