Sudan on Thursday opened its second new oil field in a week, as the country struggles to make up for the loss of billions of dollars in oil revenues lost when South Sudan separated.
“President (Omar) al-Bashir launches the actual production of Hadida oil field,” the official SUNA news agency announced.
The field, operated by Chinese-controlled Petro Energy E&P, is located on the border between East Darfur state and South Kordofan, the country’s main oil-producing area.
SUNA reported that the field would produce 10,000 barrels of crude per day (bpd), although that is unlikely to be the immediate output after start-up.
Last week, Vice President Ali Osman Taha opened another new field, Al-Barsaia, in the western part of South Kordofan.
The new fields will increase oil production “and enhancement of the economic situation of the country,” Oil Minister Awad Ahmad al-Jaz said.
Sudan’s pound has plunged to record lows on the black market and inflation has soared -- reaching 46 percent in November -- since South Sudan separated in July 2011 with some 75 percent of the 470,000 bpd produced by the formerly unified country.
The lost crude accounted for most of Khartoum’s export earnings and half of its fiscal revenues.
An international economist, who assessed Sudan’s projected budget deficit at 10 billion pounds ($1.4 billion on the black market), said implementation of an economic reform package introduced by the government in June has been “mixed.”
Spending was not contained as hoped for and revenues did not flow as expected, he said, adding that the regime lacks fiscal discipline.
The government said it earned more than $2 billion from gold exports this year but it aims to collect 60 percent of its earnings from taxation in 2013.
Sudan’s oil output for 2012 would likely not exceed 120,000 bpd, an International Monetary Fund staff report said in November. At the start of 2012, officials in Khartoum were targeting 180,000 bpd by year-end.