Sudan alerts Egypt of ‘illegal’ oil exploration in its territory

Sudan alerts Egypt of ‘illegal’ oil exploration in its territory

Sudan alerts Egypt of ‘illegal’ oil exploration in its territory

/ Oil & Gas / Monday, 25 March 2019 07:45

Sudan warned against an “illegal” offering of oil and gas exploration blocks by Egypt in the Red Sea area of Halayeb, a territory claimed by both countries.

Egypt's occupation of the Halayeb triangle, which lies in a mineral-rich border region of the Red Sea, has been a bone of contention for years between Cairo and Khartoum despite an overall improvement in ties since an October summit.

“This is an illegal operation that could face legal consequences for the parties that are involved in carrying it out,” Sudan's minister of state for oil and gas, Saad el-Deen el-Bushra, said in a statement carried by the official SUNA news agency.

Recently, Egypt's South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company invited bids for 10 oil and gas exploration blocks in what it said were Egyptian territorial waters in the Red Sea. However, it did not specify the exact location of the offered blocks.

“Announcing four of those blocks inside the Sudanese territory of Halayeb is a direct intrusion into Sudan's oil and gas ministry's authority of granting licenses for such explorations in this area,” Bushra said.

“I'm calling on all companies, consultants and study groups to stop their activities in this area or else they will face legal consequences.”

Bushra said Khartoum was ready for joint exploration work in that area but only under an agreement between the two countries.

Relations between Cairo and Khartoum had plunged in early 2017 when Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of supporting rebels in conflict zones, including Darfur in western Sudan.

Sudan in May 2017 banned the import of animal and other agricultural products. But in October, Sudan lifted the ban as ties improved following talks in Khartoum between Bashir and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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