Sudan plans to auction 5 oil blocks in Dec.- minister

ABU DHABI Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:23am EST

ABU DHABI Nov 10 (Reuters) - Sudan plans to auction five oil blocks in December, its petroleum minister said on Sunday, as the African country steps up exploration.

"We are going to have a bid round next month," Oil Minister Awad al-Jaz told reporters in Abu Dhabi. The blocks will include three offshore and two onshore, he said.

Sudan had awarded nine exploration blocks to consortiums formed by companies from Canada, Brazil and the Middle East, Jaz told Reuters last year.

French explorer Maurel & Prom signed a memorandum of understanding with Sudan for an offshore block, a government official said last year. Canadian company Statesman Resources Ltd also has oil exploration and production-sharing deals with the African state.

Sudan, which lost three quarters of its oil output when South Sudan seceded from it in July 2011, expects to double its oil production to 300,000 barrels per day by 2014, from around 120,000 bpd in 2012.

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