Khartoum — The Sudanese oil minister Awad al-Jaz announced today that his country's production of oil has reached 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) and expressed optimism that this figure could be boosted further through new discoveries.
"Our current production is between 136,000 and 140,000," al-Jaz told reporters before saying that 10,000 more barrels would be added to following the inauguration of a new oil field named Hadida this week that lies on the borders between the state of East Darfur and South Kordofan.
Earlier this year Sudan said that its oil production will reach 180,000 by the end of 2012 but later officials acknowledged that this target will not be met.
Sudan's economy has been dealt a major blow as a result of the south's secession last year. South Sudan contained three quarters of the oil wealth that existed before Sudan's breakup.
The loss of oil revenues and decline in foreign currency reserves led to sharp weakening of local currency against the dollar making imports of basic commodities more expensive leading the inflation rate to skyrocket.
Last September Sudan and landlocked South Sudan signed a deal stating the fee Juba has to pay to route its crude through northern pipelines ending a row that led to the shutdown of the entire southern output of 350,000 barrels a day in January.
But the implementation has been put on hold due to Khartoum's insistence on finalizing security arrangements on the borders before oil transportation can be resumed.
The Sudanese oil minister reiterated this position saying that South Sudan's oil exports could resume once both sides reach an agreement on border security. "There is no problem," he said, when asked whether from a technical point of view exports could flow.
Jaz said Sudan wanted to boost oil co-operation with Brazilian firms, especially to explore for oil and gas in the Red Sea. Norway is helping Sudan improve its pumping recovery rate, but according to Reuters analysts are skeptical about any big output jump soon because new fields need first to be explored. A scarcity of the dollars is hampering efforts to bring in better equipment.
Last July, Sudan signed oil exploration and production-sharing deals with Canadian company Statesman Resources Ltd as well as with Chinese, Nigerian, Australian, Brazilian and French companies.
Currently it is mainly Chinese, Malaysian and Indian firms operate in Sudan oil industry.