By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI Oct 16 Sudan has managed to restore
its oil production to levels before fighting broke out with
South Sudan in April but will miss its 2012 target of pumping
180,000 barrels a day, its oil minister said on Tuesday.
The African country is pumping currently 120,000 bpd,
roughly what it used to produce when fighting in the
oil-producing border region broke out with neighbour South
Sudan, Awad Ahmed al-Jaz told reporters at an industry
conference in India.
In April, South Sudan briefly occupied the disputed oil
field of Heglig which contributed to half of Sudan's output. The
field and its processing plant got damaged during days of heavy
fighting with ground and air forces.
Jaz said Sudan expected to increase its annual oil
production to 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter
of 2013, giving up a plan to reach this level by year-end.
"We have our blocks and we are working hard to raise
production," he said.
He already said on Monday production is expected to touch
150,000 bpd by the end of this year and Sudan aims to double its
oil output in the next two years, to 300,000 bpd, as it steps up
Sudan lost three-quarters of oil production when South Sudan
became independent in July 2011, sending its economy in turmoil
as oil revenues were the main source for state revenues and
dollars needed to fund imports.
In July, Sudan signed oil exploration and production-sharing
deals with Canadian firm Statesman Resources Ltd as well
as Chinese, Nigerian, Australian, Brazilian and French
Seven blocks were awarded for the first time, while some
companies joined previously awarded contracts for two other
But analysts are sceptical Sudan will increase production
anytime soon as companies are expected to carry out for years
magnetic studies first. Efforts to boost production from
existing fields have been hampered by a scarcity of dollars
needed to bring in better equipment and technology.