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'Indian oil investments in both Sudans safe'

Delhi,Business/Economy,Diplomacy, Wed, 04 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Both Sudan and South Sudan have assured India that its $2.5 billion investment in the oil industry spanning the trans-national border are safe and will not be affected by the simmering dispute over oil revenues between the two countries.


This was conveyed to Amarendra Khatua, India's special envoy on Sudan and additional secretary in the external affairs ministry, when he met top ministers and officials in Khartoum and Juba last week, official sources said Wednesday.


ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the overseas arm of India's state-owned oil major, had investments worth $2.5 billion in petroleum exploration and production in undivided Sudan as part of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., in which it owns a 25 percent stake.


The conflict between the two Sudans has affected OVL's commitment to supply 12,000 barrels of oil per day to Sudan, causing a loss of over $8 million over the last one month.


As India enjoys strong relations with both Sudans, India responded to the requests emanating from Khartoum and Juba to use its good offices to defuse the standoff between the two countries which have been locked in skirmishes over oil and territory since South Sudan seceded from Khartoum after a referendum last summer.


The conflict escalated last month when South Sudan shut down its entire oil production to retaliate against Khartoum's contradiction of oil for alleged non-payment of transit revenues.


After the split, nearly 85 per cent of oil wells are in South Sudan, but the port and transhipment facilities are in Sudan.


The conflict has impacted the economies of both countries severely and is not going to end soon as the gap between South Sudan's demand of $36 per barrel and Sudan's offer of less than a dollar is huge and seemingly difficult to bridge.


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