Sudan Reclassified as Oil Importer as Exports Plunge

Heglig oil field
Sudan’s main oil field at Panthou/Heglig

Sudan plans to double its oil output over the next two years, as the country struggles with rebel attacks on its oil sites and as the IMF changes the country’s classification to oil importer.

Speaking at the Petrotech energy conference – which will last from the 14th to the 17th October –  in New Delhi today, Sudan’s Petrolem Minister Awad Ahmed El-Jazz told Reuters that Sudan will double its oil production to reach 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) within the next two years; expanding production from the current rate of 120,000 bpd.  He added that even by the end of this year, the country expects output to grow to 150,000 bpd.

The expansion will be due largely to a push by the government to increase exploration and production, with the country having awarded nine exploration contracts to foreign companies earlier this year.

Applications were received from consortiums from a range of countries spanning the world, including Brazilian, Canadian, and Middle Eastern companies vying for a stake in oil exploration in Sudan.

The Minister said: “We offered last month 9 blocks and had around 72 companies competing for them…We signed with a number of them and some of the blocks already have discoveries of oil and gas.”

This push comes at a time when Sudan’s reputation in terms of oil production is struggling.  Following South Sudan’s secession last year, Sudan has seen a significant drop in oil production resulting from the loss of many oil sites to the newly formed country.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its semi-annual World Economic Outlook report released last week changed Sudan’s classification from an oil exporter to an oil importer, noting that the country “is now classified as a country with non-fuel primary products as the main source of export earnings.”

Furthermore, the country has also faced the challenge of opposition by rebels, in particular the insurgent group known as SPLM-North, which has been bombing oil sites as part of a violent campaign against the country’s military attempting to bring the group under control.  Only last week the group twice bombed the main city of Kadugli in Sudan’s oil-rich state of South Kordofan, also bombing the UN compound there- prompting a withdrawal of UN staff from the area, while violence and killing continues in the area.