May 30, 2006

Sudan invited to join OPEC

Khartoum, Sudan – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has invited Sudan to become a full member of the oil cartel, according to Sudan’s official news agency. The invitation was issued by a letter from Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who currently holds OPEC’s rotating presidency.

In a subsequent statement by Dr. Omar Mohammed Khair, the Sudanese Energy and Mining Secretary General, the country is evaluating the benefits and drawbacks, which may involve its relationship with China. The country is a small producer, averaging 363,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2005, but has attended OPEC meetings as an observer for more than five years. The Sudanese Energy Ministry estimates the country’s total oil reserves at five billion barrels, but oil exploration has been mostly limited to the central and south-central regions of the country, due to civil conflict. There are estimates of large potential reserves in northwest Sudan, the Blue Nile Basin, and the Red Sea area in the east; the Sudanese government has set a production target of 600,000 bpd by the end of 2006.

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