Petronas will be offered more business opportunities when the Sudanese government opens its doors for exploration of more oil blocks on the basis of strategic partnerships. ‘We have given information to Petronas on two free blocks namely, Block 10 and Block 12B, which are in the east and west of Sudan respectively,’ Sudan Ministry of Petroleum State Minister, Ali Ahmad Osman, told Bernama in an interview. He said Petronas, which has shown keen interest in studying the upstream and downstream opportunities, has been given an assurance by the Sudanese government that its investments would be protected.

Ali Ahmad said some blocks under the jurisdiction of Sudan National Petroleum Corp would also be offered to Petronas via farm-in arrangements where it could acquire stakes owned by the state-owned oil company. He said the Sudanese government was also revising access to other blocks via farm-in deals as some investors currently were not financially committed to the blocks although they had access to them.

Sudan currently has 21 oil blocks that are available for joint ventures. The minister said despite growing conflicts between North and South Sudan, the government would respect the access to exploration and production-sharing agreements signed with investors. ‘Things will continue in a way that will not affect investments in Sudan, and investors like Petronas would not be affected by the separation of the country, and we are now waiting for the reaction from the southern government,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Ali Ahmad said Sudan and Petronas would also embark on an expertise and training sharing programme with the exchange of talent between Universiti Teknologi Petronas and Sudan’s national university. ‘Moving forward, we need to use technology and science to increase oil output and improve the quality,’ he said.