Oil in Sudan

Oil Production5.2million tonnes per year

Oil Recoverable Reserves202million tonnes

Several oil fields, including Heglig and Unity, were discovered in south-central Sudan in the early 1980s but terrorist action forced the companies concerned to withdraw. Other foreign companies started to undertake exploration and development activities some 10 years later.

Commercial production from the Heglig field began in 1996, since when Sudan has developed into an oil producer and exporter of some significance, a key factor being the construction of a 250 000 b/d export pipeline to the Red Sea.

Most of Sudan’s oil is produced in the South, but the pipeline, refining and export infrastructure is in the North of the country. According to the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), Sudan and South Sudan had five billion barrels of proved oil reserves as of January 2012, up from an estimated 563 million barrels in 2006. Other analysts put reserve estimates as low as 4.2 billion barrels (Wood Mackenzie) or as high as 6.7 billion barrels (BP 2011 Statistical Review).

The majority of reserves are located in the oil-rich Muglad and Melut Basins. Oil produced in these basins and nearby fields is transported through two main pipelines that stretch from the landlocked South to Port Sudan. Due to civil conflict, oil exploration prior to independence was mostly limited to the central and south-central regions of the unified Sudan. Natural gas associated with oil production is mostly flared or re-injected. Despite known reserves of 3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), gas development has taken the backseat to oil development and gas exploration has been limited.


Oil data represents Crude Oil only, for extra-heavy oil and oil shale please refer to the WER 2013 report oil chapter.

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