OVL pulls out of exploration block in Sudan

OVL pulls out of exploration block in Sudan

New Delhi: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has pulled out of an exploration block in Sudan.

“Not just OVL but the entire consortium has decided to exit the Block 5B," Sudan’s minister of state for energy and mining Angelina Jany Teny said on Tuesday.

OVL has written off investment of $90 million it had made in the block.

The Minister said the consortium exited after it did not find oil or gas in the three wells it drilled on the block. The consortium may have also exited because of claims made by Sudan’s regional and federal government on the area where the block exists.

The 20,000-sq-km block is in the southern part of the Muglad basin in an area claimed by the federal government based in Khartoum and by the regional government based in Juba, Southern Sudan.

Ascom SA of Moldova was granted rights to one portion of Block 5B from the Southern Sudanese government and began drilling in January 2008, while the Khartoum government awarded the other part of the block to the White Nile Petroleum Operating Co (WNPOC).

The WNPOC consortium included operator Petronas of Malaysia (39% interest), Lundin (24.5%), OVL (23.5%), and Sudan’s Sudapet 13 (%).