Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sudan to discuss refinery plans with Petronas

Officials from Sudan and Malaysia's state oil company Petronas are scheduled to meet in March to discuss plans for a delayed joint venture refinery project, Sudan's oil minister said on Monday.

"We are meeting with our joint venture partner to see how we can move forward with this project," Sudanese Energy and Mines Minister al-Zubeir Ahmed Al-Hassan said on the sidelines of the Petrotech conference in New Delhi.

Last June, Petronas CEO Hassan Marican said the company had deferred plans to build the 100,000 barrels per day refinery in the African country due to rising costs, estimated to have jumped to about $5 billion from $1-$2 billion when it was first planned.

A Petronas source told Reuters on Monday that as far as they were concerned, the status of the refinery was "unchanged" from the last comments they made that it was too expensive.

Equipment and labour shortages have pushed costs up globally in the energy sector, leading to several refining projects being delayed or cancelled.

Petronas signed a deal in August 2005 to invest in the refinery, which would process some of the the hard-to-sell, high acidic Dar Blend crude.

Sudan, where Petronas is a major investor and has equity in the Nile Blend and Dar Blend oilfields, faces U.S. economic sanctions to press for an end to the conflict in the Darfur region.

Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:31pm

Sudan, Petronas to discuss refinery plans in March
Reuters South Africa, South Africa