Sudan and South Sudan sign draft oil production agreement
On Friday, Sudan and South Sudan signed a draft to develop oil cooperation between the two countries in Khartoum.
The draft includes entering new fields to increase oil production in South Sudan in the fields of Unity and Toma South, in addition to working on re-pumping field 5A and entering it into the oil production circle. It also includes providing technical support for blocks 3 and 7 in South Sudan.
The signed draft also includes financial arrangements and the supply of quantities of crude oil to the Um Dabakir power plant and Khartoum refinery in Sudan. Materials and equipment related to the South Sudanese oil sector will be sent to Port Sudan.
The Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining, Kheiri Abdelrahman, confirmed Sudan's commitment to providing aid in oil production in South Sudan "based on the eternal and historical relations between one people in two countries".
He stressed at the signing ceremony that the new leadership of the oil sector in Sudan, following the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir last year, “is working in a different spirit and with a firm desire to exploit the wealth of the two countries for the benefit of their peoples,” with a specific focus on economic cooperation.
South Sudanese Minister of Petroleum Puok Kang Chol described the agreement as a real step towards increased cooperation between the two countries. He said a Sudan Coordination Office will be established in Juba.
Gold and mineral exploration
Also on Friday, the Ministry of Energy and Mining signed seven concession agreements for exploring for gold and associated minerals in Nile River state, North Kordofan, and Red Sea state.
Minister Abdelrahman said more concession agreements will be signed next week, amounting to 20 agreements.
Acting Finance Minister, Heba Mohamed, said that there are 400 companies working in the field of exploration, but only 13 have entered the production phase.
The ministry cancelled two concession agreements with two gold and minerals mining companies operating in Red Sea state, for exploration of Block 2A-1 and Block 6K.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry, Mohamed Yahya said that the reason for cancelling the agreement with the one company is due to its violation of the terms and controls. The agreement with the second company has been cancelled because it failed to start exploration work in the Block and to present the work programme and budget on time.
While extracting gold is essential for Sudan’s economic recovery, the widespread use of toxins such as cyanide and mercury in the process has led to environmental and health problems among miners and people living in the periphery of mining operations, including miscarriages among women.
In October last year, Sudan’s Council of Ministers issued directives calling an immediate halt to the use of toxic mercury and cyanide in mining operations in Sudan following mass protests in South Kordofan and elsewhere in the country.
This February, hundreds of demonstrators in Abu Jubeiha in South Kordofan marched to the locality offices in the town, in protest against the illegal disposal of toxic mining waste in the locality.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, activist Hasan Khalil reported that the protest rally was organised by the resistance committees of Abu Jubeiha, in response to the decision of the South Kordofan state government to allow the resumption of the two mining plants in the locality.
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