ONGC Videsh Limited has stepped up efforts to recover $400 million as dues from Sudan on its investment in oil assets including setting up a pipeline network connecting to the Red Sea, company officials said on Wednesday. In 2003, OVL, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, bought a 25% stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project that managed blocks 1, 2 and 4 in undivided Sudan.
China Petroleum Company has a 40% stake in GNOP, Malaysia's Petronas a 30% share and state-owned Sudapet holds the remaining 5%. These blocks are located in the Muglad basin, about 780 km southwest of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The project had started production in 1999 with an initial area of 49,500 sq km in the Muglad basin. But after the creation of South Sudan and Sudan as two separate countries in July 2011, blocks 2A, 2B and 4N came under Sudan, while blocks 1A, 1B and 4S went to South Sudan.
At present, the total area of the blocks under GNPO is 29,749 sq km. The Sudanese project produced around 50,000 b/d while the 4N project was in the exploration stage, officials said. OVL's outstanding dues were related to Sudan's local refineries using crude from GNOP as against its share. After the division of the African country, the Sudanese government's share of total crude output in Sudan was not sufficient to meet demands of local refineries and foreign companies such as OVL were asked to sell their share of crude oil to the government.
"We have intensified efforts to recover our dues through the diplomatic channel. But it is difficult to predict when the amount will be received," said a senior OVL official. OVL has 37 projects across 16 countries, including Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Venezuela, Vietnam and New Zealand.