Sudan is preparing to launch more than 30 oil exploration bids next year in an attempt to lure Western companies to reinvest in its petroleum industry. File Image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - Sudan is preparing to launch more than 30 oil exploration bids next year in an attempt to lure Western companies to reinvest in its petroleum industry after the lifting of economic sanctions, the Sudan Tribune reported.

"Now, as relations between Sudan and the US improve, the ministry of petroleum plans to tender 30 to 35 new oil blocks in the second half of next year to revive exploration activity in the country," Azhari Abdallah the country’s oil minister said.

Sudan’s economy deteriorated following its split from South Sudan in 2011 when oil funds were used to fund its war against rebel groups in southern Sudan, and in the Darfur region. This situation was exacerbated by international economic sanctions.

However, despite the lifting of the economic embargo in October 2017 few Western countries have invested in the country, specifically because there are still a number of American sanctions on Sudan relating to Washington’s belief that Khartoum is a state sponsor of terrorism.

Certain high-ranking individuals also have sanctions imposed on them.

Furthermore, potential investors are dissuaded from investing due to the rampant corruption and heavy taxes.

But following the lifting of the economic embargo Sudan’s Oil and Gas Ministry invited several American oil companies to the country, calling for them to invest in a number of oil blocs in the Red Sea area, and pointing out the need for advanced technology to increase oil production.

Development of Sudan’s 3 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves has been limited. It also lacks pipelines and port terminals to import gas or liquefied natural gas.

African News Agency (ANA)