The Untapped Potential
A Country of Potential
Sudan's vast and varied landscape has long been acknowledged as one of the potential and richest in Africa. It has only recently (around the mid-seventies) been discovered that the subterranean geological formations are also prospective of oil resources.
Across the interior of the Sudan there are three related major sedimentary basins running northwest to southeast, each of which is composed of a complex system of sub-basins. The largest and most important of these is Al-Muglad Basin which measures 1200km x 300km, with sediments reaching 16000 m. This basin comprises amongst many prospective oil fields, the well-known Unity and Heglig oil fields, now producing about 250000 BBL per day. Mulut basin ranks second, with an area amounting to 65000 Sq. km and a sedimentary thickness of up to 13700m. In this field there has been so far one noteable discovery of about 5000 BBL per day, while still grossly underexplored. The Blue Nile Basin is the third of these systems, having a total area of 66000 sq-km, and a sedimentary cover of up to 9144m.
Other prospective areas than these three basins lie in the north west of Sudan bordering Egypt and Libya as well as the Red Sea coast and littoral.
Concessioning Rights and Blocks
All these prospective basins are subdivided into blocks for concessioning to investors on basis of exploration and production agreements. So far a number of consortium of companies and individual companies have been granted rights and are active in exploration, development and production activities. These including, China National Petroleum Company, Petronas of Malaysia, Lundin of Canada, OMV of Austria and Total of France.
The Export Pipeline
Recently a crude oil pipeline for export (1610 km length, 28 inch dia.) has been commissioned. and export crude from Heglig and Unity is flowing to world markets via the newly constructed Bashayer Marine Terminal.
Crude Oil Quality
Crude oil from the Sudanese interior is a very sweet crude with sulphur content less than 0.4 percent. It is paraffinic, with API 34 gravity, and is on high demand in the Far East and the Pacific.
The Refining Industry
On refining industry, a new complex refinery has been constructed north of Khartoum. with a capacity of 50000 bbl per day. This refinery is sufficient for the country's demand, and has surplus gasoline for export (unleaded and high octane),
There are other simple refineries of low capacities namely Abu Gabra (2000 bbl per day), Alobeid (10 000 bbl per day), and Concorp Refinery (5000 bbl per day).
The existing refinery in Port Sudan, with a capacity of 250,000 bbl per day, will be rehabilitated, and horizontally and vertically expanded for export purposes. It is a promising area for incestors.
There will be further opportunities in other aspects of the oil industry, concurrent and following increased exploration, development and production activities in fields, such as petrochemicals, transport of oil products and distribution.