News Article by AFP posted on July 01, 2000 at 10:42:14: EST (-5 GMT)
Sudan's Chinese-built oil refinery goes on line amid export plans
By Mohamed Ali Saeed
KHARTOUM, June 30 (AFP) - Sudan inaugurated Friday a
Chinese-built petroleum refinery to produce oil derivatives for both
export and local consumption.
Speaking at the televised ceremony, President Omar al-Beshir
thumbed his nose at the United States for pulling its oil companies
out of Sudan and said his government had "accepted the challenges"
of working without them.
The refinery, built by China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) in
19 months, can handle 50,000 barrels per day and is capable of
producing five times Sudan's butane gas needs, three times its
benzine needs and meeting local gasoline requirements.
The government is planning to export butane gas produced at the
refinery 70 kilometres (40 miles) north of Khartoum, which was
inaugurated to celebrate the 11th anniversray of Beshir's seizure of
Beshir boasted that the refinery was the latest in a string of
oil industry achievements made after "the American oil companies
pulled out saying that Sudanese oil would be produced only by
Sudan began exporting crude oil in August 1999 from the
specially-built Beshair terminal near Port Sudan which is linked to
oilfields in southern Sudan by a 1,610 kilometre (1,000 mile)
"We are now in possession of expertise in field operations,
transport, refining and exportation," Beshir said, adding that
Khartoum was entitled to 80 percent of the refinery's production
under its deal with the Chinese firm.
CNPC is also part of a consortium of oil firms including
Malaysia's Petronas and Talisman of Canada operating in the Higleig
and Unity oilfields in southern Sudan.
Energy and Mining Minister Awad Ahmed Eljaz said he had invited
companies "from all over the world" to invest in Sudan's oil
industry, saying that his ministry is contemplating petrochemical
Beshir also announced tha the government had cut butane gas
prices by 50 percent, though price cuts on benzine, gasoline and
kerosene were lower than expected at around seven percent.
"We have now got rid of petroleum scarcity and bidden farewell
to the long queues at gas stations," he said. "Trees will no longer
be chopped, as there is no need for firewood or charcoal."
Beshir added that proceeds from Sudanese petroleum sales would
finance electricity, agriculture, road and railway development
projects, as well as education and health services.
He also said a fund would be established to develop areas
affected by the civil war in south and east Sudan and in the Nuba
Mountains, in central Sudan.
The Energy and mining ministry secretary general, Hassan Mohamed
Ali al-Toam, said a power station attached to the refinery would
meet its energy needs and add a surplus 20 megawatts to the national
grid to help ease the country's electricity shortage.