UPDATE 1-Sudan expects to double oil production in next 2 yrs -minister
(Adds government official comments on Maurel & Prom)
NEW DELHI Oct 15 (Reuters) - Sudan expects to double its oil production in the next two years, to 300,000 barrels per day, as it steps up oil exploration, the country's petroleum minister said on Monday.
The country has awarded nine exploration blocks to consortiums formed by companies from Canada, Brazil and the Middle East, Awad Ahmed El-Jazz told Reuters on the sidelines of the Petrotech energy conference in the Indian capital.
"We offered last month 9 blocks and had around 72 companies competing for them," he said.
"We signed with a number of them and some of the blocks already have discoveries of oil and gas," he said, but did not name the companies.
French explorer Maurel & Prom has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sudan for an offshore block, a government official said later. The company wil review seismic data on the block and could sign a production sharing contract with Sudan in two months, he added.
Sudan is currently producing 120,000 bpd of oil and output could rise to 150,000 bpd by the end of 2012, the minister said. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)