KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government aims to increase oil reserves by tapping more than 250 new wells next year, the country's oil minister said.
South Sudan gained control over major oil producing acreage when it secured independence in 2011 through a peace deal with Sudan brokered with the help of the U.S. government. Sudan, however, maintained control over the export infrastructure.
Sudanese Oil Minister Makawi Mohamed Awad told lawmakers the government aims to draw in investment partners and dig as many as 253 new wells next year to increase oil and natural gas reserves.
A report in the official Sudan News Agency states the goal is to increase oil reserves by 65.4 million barrels and 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Sudan holds about 1.5 million barrels of proved reserves, though much of the regional basins straddle the border with South Sudan. Natural gas production is limited because of the lack of infrastructure necessary to utilize reserves associated with regional oil.
The minister said the government would try to woo new investors to the country by updating existing hydrocarbon laws and control measures. Auctions in the past drew investors with little experience in the region, though Chinese oil companies have a long history in the region.
Oil exports from South Sudan through Sudan were halted in 2012 because of revenue disputes with the Sudanese government. Both sides have teetered on the brink of war in part due to lingering disputes regarding oil in the border territory of Heglig.