Headline
  • Andhra Pradesh: Telangana TDP leader Dayakar Rao said extension in deadline to debate Telangana bill in assembly will be unacceptable
  • Assam: Union minister Oscar Fernandes arrives in Guwahati to attend the closing ceremony of 74th Indian Road Congress
  • Bihar: Maoists blast a panchayat building at Pio village in Giridih district in Jharkhand; no casualties, say police today
  • Chennai: CM urges PM to ensure release of 25 fishermen taken into custody by Lankan Navy to facilitate fishermen-level talks
  • Delhi: CM Arvind Kejriwal was hospitalised Wednesday morning due to severe lung congestion, an AAP party member said
  • Gujarat: Two persons killed as miscreants fired at a petrol pump office Tuesday night Botad in Bhavnagar, probe on
  • Haryana: Four persons killed, 13 hurt when maxi cab collided with truck near Dhani Toda village on Bhiwani-Loharu road Tuesday
  • Himachal Pradesh: CM directs officials to stop felling of trees for widening of road from Dharamsala to Bagli, say officials
  • Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar-Jammu national highway closed for all sorts of vehicular traffic today following heavy snowfall
  • Karnataka: First joint session of state legislature in the new year begins at vidhana soudha in central Bangalore
  • Kerala: CM Tuesday demanded apology from AAP leader Kumar Vishwas for his alleged derogatory remarks against nurses from state
  • Kolkata: Govt will set up a puppet museum at Kankurgachi in Kolkata to preserve art of puppetry, announces minister Upen Biswas
  • Madhya Pradesh: A Sagar district court awards 3-years of jail to a head constable for taking bribe from an accused
  • Maharashtra: State Secondary and Higher Secondary School Principals Federation to protest in Pune Jan 27 for their pending demands
  • Mumbai: BJP leader Vinod Tawde demands principal secretary to probe the Jan 18 Malabar Hills stampede, which left 18 dead
  • Northeast: Agartala Municipal Council, oldest municipal body of northeast, Tuesday upgraded as a corporation
  • Odisha: Berhampur police Tuesday arrested 7 members of a gang involved in burglary cases on national highway in Ganjam dist
  • Punjab: AICC expands Punjab poll panel adding five new members, including former law minister Ashwani Kumar
  • Rajasthan: Jaipur administration extends holiday in schools till Class 5 to January 25 due to extreme cold condition
  • Tamil Nadu: CM urges PM to ensure release of 25 fishermen taken into custody by Lankan Navy to facilitate fishermen-level talks
  • UP East: Uttarakhand assembly Tuesday passed a new Lokayukta Bill modelled on Lokpal of the Centre
  • UP West: Uttarakhand assembly Tuesday passed a new Lokayukta Bill modelled on Lokpal of the Centre
  • West Bengal: Govt will set up a puppet museum at Kankurgachi in Kolkata to preserve art of puppetry, announces minister Upen Biswas
  • Andhra Pradesh: Police in Hyderabad book a case against filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma for making objectionable remarks against Lord Ganesh
  • Assam: Met department predicts cloudy sky over Guwahati during the next 12-hours; maximum temperature to hover around 32C
  • Bihar: Two senior BJP leaders question projection of ex-dy CM Sushil Kumar Modi as face of party in Bihar assembly polls 2015
  • Chennai: Rameswaram fishermen, who were on indefinite strike seeking end to attacks by Lankan Navy, to call off strike Monday
  • Delhi: Spell of rain today cooled Delhi and adjoining areas in Haryana and UP; met office forecasts more rainfall during day
  • Gujarat: Special daily flights will be operated from September 9 for Haj Yatra from Ahmedabad airport, say officials
  • Haryana: Spell of rain today cooled Delhi and adjoining areas in Haryana and UP; met office forecasts more rainfall during day
  • Himachal Pradesh: No arrest made in ragging to suicide case in Hamirpur college as police locating mobile call details
  • Jammu and Kashmir: Security tightened across Jammu ahead of two-day visit of President Pranab Mukherjee from September 1
  • Karnataka: BBMP to undertake a drive to clear encroachments on footpaths in Kempegowda area in Bangalore September 1-2
  • Kerala: BJP president Amit Shah to address party leaders and grass root-level functionaries in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow
  • Kolkata: A cyber police station will become operational under the Howrah Police commissionerate from tomorrow
  • Madhya Pradesh: No shortage of power in Madhya Pradesh, says chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
  • Maharashtra: Eight fishermen were rescued safely from a boat which capsized in Nilwande sea coast near Ratnagiri
  • Mumbai: Ex-IAS officer Uttam Khobragade to join RPI on Tuesday in presence of Ramdas Athawale
  • Northeast: Two killed in a police firing in Manipur during protest against imposition of prohibitory order in Ukhrul, say police
  • Odisha: Odisha govt has directed its administrative dept not to hire or re-employ any retired public servant beyond 65 years
  • Punjab: Police today arrested a man who had killed his elder brother at Fatehgarh Churian town in Batala August 24
  • Rajasthan: Army recruitment exam scheduled to be held in Bikaner today has been canceled after paper leak; 9 people arrested
  • Tamil Nadu: Rameswaram fishermen, who were on indefinite strike seeking end to attacks by Lankan Navy, to call off strike Monday
  • UP East: Uttar Pradesh government today announced exemption of entertainment tax on Priyanka Chopra starrer biopic Mary Kom
  • UP West: Uttar Pradesh government today announced exemption of entertainment tax on Priyanka Chopra starrer biopic Mary Kom
  • West Bengal: A cyber police station will become operational under the Howrah Police commissionerate from tomorrow
Peace with Sudan opens new vistas for India
Peace with Sudan opens new vistas for India

Rohit Bansal

Juba (South Sudan), March 18 (IANS) Shreedhar Vyas looks mighty pleased for a man who hadn't had a weekend. The country manager for the overseas arm of India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) breaks bread after marathon meetings here over restarting Block 5a, the oil-rich block that the company jointly operates with Petronas of Malaysia, and Nilepet, the national oil company of South Sudan.

After over a year of underemployment, it's time now for South Sudan's oil partners to dust maps of the Muglad region spanning some 20,900 sq km and restore the infrastructure, flattened due to bombing and vandalism by tribesmen wanting to make a fast buck in Africa's newest and 54th nation.

The rush of getting black gold back into the pipelines, with the press giving saturated coverage, is what oil miners live for. Everyone is racing against South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit's matrix, issued last week to resolve all disputes with Sudan, from which it had broken up last year after years of conflict to form a separate country. This calls for resuming oil production by March 24.

The battle royale over transit fee between the land-locked south and its former masters in Khartoum, who control refining and evacuation into Port Sudan in the Red Sea, which had forced an outright suspension of production in Block 5a since Jan 21, 2012, ruining Juba's budget almost irretrievably, finally seems over.

"I think we can start by the end of this month," says Vyas. "Production will be a fraction of the 350,000 (barrels) the partners aim do in full stream across all acreages, including 5a. But all of us are eager and wanting to get there as soon as it's technically feasible."

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), down to three executives and a part-time cook for the past six months, is quickly ramping up with dozens of field folks and the facilities to give them cover. Beijing, one can't help but remind, has 80 companies to corner the raft of services that make ancillary money off the oil business here.

A similar rush is on for Blocks 1, 2 and 4, where OVL is in truck with Chinese giant CNPC, Petronas and Nilepet. Here, OVL's share of production has been even more: 1.324 million metric tonnes (mmt) in 2011-12 and 1.801 mmt in 2010-11, including acreages on the northern side which must be counted because the blocks are spread over both Sudans. Production on the northern side dipped after Jan 21 last, and had to stopped after the central processing facilities in Heglig to the marine terminal were bombed heavily.

OVL has had 24.125 percent stake in Block 5a since May 2004, which it bought from Omv Austria, Petronas has 67.875 percent, while Nilepet inherited the remaining 8 percent after Sudan was divided into north and south in July 2011. ONGC's share from the field was 0.174 mmt in 2011-12 and 0.226 mmt in 2010-11.

Even as Juba and Khartoum seem ready to move on, the history of truce being respected isn't all that assuring. But the world is putting its might behind the matrix, brokered by the African Union. The matrix is a set of conditionalities and dates both sides must respect.

It's an insurance against political vagaries, deep deficit budgets and starving bureaucrats and army men of their salaries. It's a good sign that ahead of oil revenues and transit fee from Juba, Khartoum has already announced upward increases in its annual budget.

Parmod Bajaj, India's first full-ranking ambassador to Juba, is among the growing body of optimists, who think oil will flow this time. Bajaj nuances that the first money from the sale of oil will take another three weeks after oil from Blocks 5a and Blocks 1, 2, and 4 actually reaches global buyers via Port Sudan. "So, we're talking of the first revenues reaching around May," he explains.

The former official in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), pulled into the job from the consulate in New York by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and P.S. Raghvan, India's administrator of the Development Partnerships Administration (DPA), are painstakingly putting Juba higher on New Delhi's agenda.

"This indeed is the right time for our private sector companies to enter," Bajaj advises. While matching Beijing's big bucks isn't an option before DPA, the prescient OVL investment in 2003-4 has created dividends for those entering today.

For example, despite Beijing's far deeper role in South Sudan's reconstruction, an Indian company has been granted a concession for 20,000 hectares of land to grow sugarcane and then process it in Terekeka, Juba's neighbouring county.

The company, Uttam Sugars, is promising to invest over Rs.1,000 crore ($180 million), an intent that's got them some fetching coverage this weekend in the local media. "We trust them," says Jacob Gore Samuel, commissioner of Terekeka county, mandated to broker the interests of both Uttam and the local community, which controls traditional right on the land the company needs.

India now also wants to help Juba in refurbishing a hospital of its choice. Getting doctors to a remote station entailing hopping flights via Addis Ababa remains a challenge. But New Delhi is open to committing upward of Rs.25 crore ($4.5 million) on that. Beijing, meanwhile, has already dotted downtown Juba with signage of a "China Friendship Hospital".

But almost the entire elite of South Sudan prefers a check-up in Chennai or Noida. Suresh Gulati, an Indian medico-turned medical facilitator in Noida, is a modern-day Dr. Kotnis (the Indian doctor who is highly revered in China for his medical mission), having hosted a virtual who's who, including the speaker of the Council of States, the deputy governor of Central Equatoria, several MPs and freedom fighters, and since the weekend, the finance minister of South Sudan.

There is a liberal financial package for treatment given by the government to those who qualify. Patients can only go up once the state's finances improve as does the South Sudanese pound, presently in short supply in banks and commanded by road-side black marketeers.

 

© 2014 IANS India Private Limited. All Rights Reserved.
The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action.

For news, views and gossips, follow @IANSLIVE at Twitter. Find us on Facebook too!

Update: 18-March-2013

Comments: [0]

RELATED NEWS
RELATED TOPICS

BUSINESS



Add your comment

Name : *


Email : *


Comments : *

Reload Image
Code:

Comments

VIDEO GALLERY

POLL

3
Do you think the entry of Amar Singh in the RLD has upset poll strategies of major parties in UP ?

Yes

No

Can't say


Please answer this simple math question

4 + 4 =

WEATHER UPDATE

----WEATHERHOMEFILEPATH

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player