KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Sudan has recently sealed contracts and received offers from Western firms and governments to invest in such crucial economic areas as gas and oil, livestock and agricultural production.
The contracts and offers have come from such rich western countries as Norway, France, Canada and USA.
Following is a review of these understandings and their possible bearing on Sudan’s economy:
Oil And Gas: Norway
The Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Mining has sealed a $850 million contract with the Norwegian Noroil on the exploitation of oil associated gas to generate power and produce cooking and fluid gas.
The deal focuses on Blocks 4 and 6, in the mid-west with plans for the generation of 460 MW of power, the production of 350 tons of cooking gas and 3000 tons of liquid gas.
According to the contract, work would commence in February and take 20 months.
According to the contract the Sudanese oil company Sudapet will get 51 percent of the project’s proceeds while the Norwegian company will get 49 percent.
Signing the deal on behalf of Noroil was the company’s CEO Tor Kragh Fosse.
The Norwegian executive said Noroil was interested in working in Africa and particularly in Sudan.
He said Noroil will also work with the Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Mining to apply new technologies in order to increase production in sluggish oil wells using sophisticated technology. No details were given on this last point other than that the two sides had agreed to conduct examinations in the low productivity oil fields.
Previously the Minister of Energy and Mining Adil Ibrahim announced that the worth of a daily $10 million of associated natural gas is simply burned in the air in the country’s oil fields in the mid-west of the country.
For sometime, Sudan had failed to increase production in several of its oil fields for lack of funding and suitable technology.
Sudan had lost 75 % of its oil revenue by the breakaway of the Southern part of the country, now the independent Republic of South Sudan.
By the result Sudan’s oil output had first dropped to a daily 120,000 barrels per day, then down to a humble 40,000 BPD but of late has reportedly surged to 70,000 BPD which is not enough to meet the country’s daily demand of 100 barrels or more. This situation has forced the country to look for oil handouts from friendly countries or buy from the global market.
In the same connection, the Malaysian oil firm Petronas last week announced that it struck a vast reserve of natural gas and oil in blocks 13 and 15 in the coastal Red Sea region in the East. The Malaysian firm said its natural gas find amounts to 75 billion cubic meters in addition to what it termed “enormous quantities of oil.” But it did not specify the amount of the oil found. It said it was looking for partners to exploit the gas and oil in the two blocks. It said the project requires an investment of three billion U.S Dollars.
At one point in time former Minister of Energy Awad Aljaz announced that seismic surveys had shown oil indications in ‘all’ of the country’s regions.
A seismic map conducted by the American oil Giant ‘Chevron’ this writer had seen confirms these Aljaz’s revelations.
Upon taking oath of office the present Minister of Energy Adil Ibrahim, in an answer to a question about what was on his mind, said that: “I am thinking of the exploitation of oil in the State of Khartoum the Capital, down to the Gezira State in central Sudan and also down to the Dindir District in the South East, bordering Ethiopia.”
The Ministry of Animal Wealth and Fisheries last week reached an agreement with the French Development Agency (FDA) for the implementation of investment ventures for meat and milk processing and marketing and for enhancing the health and the breeds of the country’s vast livestock.
A meeting between the Ministry’s Undersecretary Adil Farah and a delegation from the Agency, headed by Mr. Françoise Gary has discussed Sudan’s urgent requirements for the implementation of previously agreed upon projects for the marketing of meat and milk, which will begin in May.
Farah added that Sudan and France will also implement projects for the health and movement of livestock.
For his part, Mr. Gary has confirmed France’s commitment to combat animal epidemic and endemic diseases.
Mr. Gary said the projects “have economic, political and social dimensions and are sought to facilitate means of living for the citizens.”
“It is our hope that France and Sudan continue cooperation in this field,” he said.
He said it is also their hope that Sudan would start to export its animal products to Europe according to international specifications to boost its economy.
Earlier Sudan and France agreed upon launching a center to enhance Sudan’s livestock. The center is projected to be the biggest such a facility in Africa and will be concerned with the production of sperms and the artificial insemination of the Sudanese herd in order to change the biological map of Sudanese livestock in a bid for high productivity in meat and milk.
Following the advent of Sudan’s transitional civilian government, France announced it would streamline projects for meat and milk production. The said French projects will also include slaughterhouses to boost the revenue of meat exports, it was reported.
In his first address upon taking office, Finance Minister Ibrahim Albadawi announced that he was planning to launch modern slaughterhouses in highly livestock producing regions of the country. Badawi had said his plan was to launch these facilities in Darfur and West Kordofan states in the West of the country. He said his plan also caters for building airports in those areas from where meat could be shipped to West Africa and Europe.
At present Sudan have very few modern slaughterhouses. By the result, Sudan is unable to meet mounting demand on the regional markets for meat and is thus obliged to export live livestock to those markets.
In the same context, Sudan has concluded a $400.000 agreement with the French company in charge of a project to enhance the breeds of Sudan’s desert (Sahrawi) sheep in a bid to boost sheep exports.
The French side has also pledged another $400.000 to support the launching of a veterinary laboratory, according to a recent statement by the Ministry of Animal Wealth and Fisheries.
The projects will be implemented starting next June, it said.
Sudan has a livestock population of around 120 million heads. The sum includes cattle, sheep, goats and camels. But experts complain that much of this sum is not adequately exploited due to a hoard of reasons.
One of those reasons is that the meat and milk production of this livestock is low compared with international standards. There has always been need to enhance the livestock breeds to raise its productivity of meat and milk.
Another reason is that traditional breeders are not always market- minded: They keep their livestock for social reasons, perhaps as a show of wealth. Experts advise the public to sell out mature animals in order to lower the cost of fodder and labor.
Experts also complain that Sudan’s exports of meat and livestock constitute just a humble one percent of the overall herd. The experts advise the government to open up new markets for this valuable commodity and try to obtain an added value to livestock exports by launching more slaughterhouses and more meat processing plants. If done, this could boost the country’s export revenue a good deal.
The experts also expect an increase in the country’s hides exports if the livestock is butchered locally before it is exported.
Agriculture And Petroleum: Canada
The Government of Canada in mid January raised its diplomatic representation in Sudan to ambassadorial level, which had hitherto been limited to the office of chargé d'affaires.
It is on the heels of this development that Canadian government and private agencies came with investment offers in agriculture and energy.
Speaking at a seminar titled the role of Canadian experts in transferring knowhow to Sudan, Canada’s new Ambassador Adrian Norfolk said: We will support the transitional government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk to achieve an easy transition to democratic rule.
He disclosed that his government was planning to beef up its trade relations with Sudan.
Oil And Gas
Mr. Norfolk also confirmed his country’s willingness to share its expertise in the management of Sudanese projects in agriculture, oil and gas.
Some Canadian oil firms, including giants Talisman, were, for years, involved in Sudan’s oil industry. But due to pressures from the U.S that the government of Omar Albashir was using oil proceeds to feed its war in the now breakaway South Sudan, Talisman and its Canadian sisters left the country after making tangible oil discoveries, mostly in Southern Sudan.
Ambassador Norfolk, however, did not say whether those oil companies would return to Sudan or not.
In keeping with this Canadian turn to investment in Sudan and following the resumption of ambassadorial representation, the Canadian company for agricultural renovation last week concluded an agreement with the local food producers Mua’awaya Alberair Company “for the production of improved seeds and seedlings to boost Sudan’s cereal and fruit production and for the introduction of agricultural technologies.”
Speaking on the occasion Ambassador Norfolk reiterated his country’s support to the development of Sudan’s agriculture “on a win-win basis.”
He said the agreement with Alberair Company opens doors for other Canadian groups to invest in agriculture in the Sudan.
For his part Alberair Company’s manager Mr. Mua’awaya Alberair said the new partnership provides for the launch of a new company for improved seeds and the launch of a histology laboratory to produce high quality seeds and seedlings.
Berair further asserted that “agriculture and agro-industry are the only way for economic renaissance in this time of political change in Sudan.”
“Our country is endowed with vast arable land and adequate waters, and all we need is indigenizing sophisticated technology in our country,” he said.
Details of the deal with the Canadian firm are yet to be disclosed.
Sudanese economists have always been citing the country’s need for drought and pest resisting cereal varieties of maize, groundnuts and sorghum. They also advise for indigenizing warm weather varieties of wheat.
At the moment Sudan produces high quality grapefruits, oranges, bananas and mangoes. Very recently private agro-investors have successfully introduced the growing of olives, grapes, Pomegranate, strawberries, apples, mulberries and other Mediterranean zone fruits.
The American food production “Specialty Company” has disclosed results of its trial for the promotion of groundnut cultivation, manufacturing and indigenization in Sudan, using the state of the art technology in this domain.
The company says it has now produced high quality groundnuts in its pilot farm in West Omdurman here.
A photo of the grain shows a product very different from the varieties so far grown in Sudan. The grains are big and totally different in color.
The company has said its aim was to give an added value to Sudanese groundnut production.
In an encounter with the acting director of the national authority for investment Ms. Hanan Musnad Osman, a delegation from the company disclosed that they had grown 500 acres in West Omdurman here with improved American groundnut seeds that suit Sudan’s weather.
They said they worked on the vast farm in cooperation with the American Kelly Manufacturing Company (KMC) and other American bodies.
Delegation chief Kim Moore further reviewed his firm’s further plans for improved groundnut improved seeds in Sudan.
For her part the Sudanese official has extolled the company’s work, confirming her government’s readiness for further cooperation with the American side.
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