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CNPC Wins Projects in Sudan Through Sincerity and Strength

At the fourth Sudan Oil Festival held on August 31 2003, Sudan President Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir awarded the First Grade Two-Niles Decoration to Wu Yaowen, vice general manager of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation). It was a token of thanks for the CNPC's contribution to Sudan's social and economic development.


On the same day four years ago, a crude oil export consignment mined from the CNPC Blocks 1/2/4 oil fields sailed out from Sudan's Red Sea harbor. This was a milestone in Sudan's history. It had hitherto spent US $300 million each year on oil imports, but from August 31, 1999 onwards it began to realize an annual oil export volume of US $ 1 billion, constituting 58 percent of the country's national income. "August 31 is day of a pride for Sudan, and also for the CNPC." said Wang Dongjin, general manager of China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation, the CNPC subsidiary in charge of overseas projects. "I clearly recall the Sudan Minister of Energy and Mining's words on that day: 'The CNPC has helped Sudan achieve its goal of becoming an oil exporter.'" It currently runs five cooperative projects in Sudan, including Block 6, Blocks 1/2/4, Blocks 3/7, the Khartoum Refinery Project, and PP Project.


The CNPC came to Sudan after meeting with Sudan President Bashir on his visit to China in 1995. On taking the decision to exploit Sudan's oil resources, and after several years' effort, CNPC's first project, Block 6, was proven to have reserves of 150 million tons. Construction of an oil field and a 700-kilometer long-distance pipeline began in 2003. This project will go into operation by the end of 2003. Oil exploitation in Blocks 1/2/4, CNPC's biggest individual overseas project, began in 1997.


On May 31, 1999, a 10 million ton annual production capacity oil field went into operation. In June the same year crude oil extracted from it was transported to Red Sea harbor through the 1,506-kilometer long-distance pipeline built by the CNPC. It is estimated that crude production in this field will reach 14 million tons in 2003, and 15 million tons in 2005.


In May 2000, construction of the Khartoum Refinery Project, whose annual oil refining volume now stands at 2.5 million tons, was finished. Dubbed by the Sudanese government "son of Sino-Sudan friendship," it realized oil supply for both production and daily life. This and the PP Project, finished in early 2002, will be of key importance in Sudan's construction of a complete oil industry.


It sparked off another CNPC cooperative project in 2001 in Blocks 3/7, where proven oil reserves now exceed 400 million tons, and another 10 million ton oil field is to build.


"In addition to oil exploitation, we attach great importance to local public welfare," added Wang Dongjin. Since 1996, the CNPC has contributed substantially to the construction of four hospitals, three of which were built by the CNPC itself. "Each hospital cost US $ 1 million. We are not hugely rich, but cannot turn a blind eye to poor local medical conditions. In the past, there was only one rundown hospital, and many patients died on their way to it." A lack of water resources forced local residents to drink from streams, and many fell prey to infectious diseases. To solve this problem, the CNPC drilled 100 water wells along its oil fields and pipelines. During severe floods in 1998 the group also donated US $150,000 for reparations, and in order to improve local communications, helped the local government to build several hundred kilometers of highways. "We plan to give economic aid to local railway construction. This will greatly strengthen transport capacity," said Wang.


The CNPC has also built more than ten primary schools in the locality, and helped to train oil technicians. With the help of the CNPC subsidy, outstanding college students get the chance to study at the Peking University of Petroleum, China's highest institution of petrology. To date, a total of 25 graduates and postgraduates have finished their studies, and another 34 are currently studying in China. They are the future backbone of Sudan's oil industry.


Success is never accomplished without difficulty, and adverse climatic conditions have been a major obstacle to the CNPC group achieving its objectives. During north Sudan's dry season the temperature reaches 50 degrees, and under direct sun it soars to 70. Despite application of Chinese regulations that under such circumstances production should halt, construction of a 1,506-kilometer pipeline from CNPC Blocks 1/2/4 across desert, tropical forest, high mountains and rivers was completed in just 11 months -- a world record in pipeline construction.


Another problem was safety. On commencing construction the pipeline was blasted four times in one year and attacked with bullets and shells on several occasions. "Even in times of great danger, we never prolonged the time limit on our project. Instead we worked out a set of realistic contingency plans," said Wang. 


The CNPC's future goals are to increase the production capacity of existing projects and crude exploitation volume to a level of 20 million tons, extend the length of crude transport pipeline to 3,000 kilometers, and expand its annual crude refining capacity to five million tons by 2005. It also intends to continue helping Sudan develop its chemical industry, and local governments to develop chemical fertilizer, detergent, and other civil use chemical products.


"This is a win-win strategy. On achieving economic returns, we should make our contribution to local social and economic development. We win business opportunities through our sincerity and strength," said Wang Dongjin.


(China.org.cn December 10, 2003)




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