Malaysia Keeps a Foot in the Door of Sudanese Oil Coffers
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
After a recent visit to a refugee camp in Darfur, accompanied by Sudan’s energy minister, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia told reporters that “We must commit ourselves to help in any way we can. I have decided that I should approach the leaders of [the] Organization of Islamic Conference and [the] Islamic Development Bank to extend whatever help that can be given to the government of Sudan.” Abdullah is chairman of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Islamic body.
“They need schools and water supply. They also need medical aid,” he said. “They also want to be reassured that they can live in peace and that is why there is a need for security. If all this is done, the people can be motivated to leave the camps.”
The prime minister’s visit followed bilateral meetings in Khartoum where he voiced support for Sudan’s government and his hope that the West would not impose sanctions on Sudanese firms.
Hassan Merican, head of Petronas, Malaysia’s state oil company, also accompanied Abdullah on his visit to Khartoum. The company has been seeking access to its oil concessions in Sudan’s semi-autonomous south, where the government recently set new terms.
Petronas has interests in nine oil fields in Sudan as well as a refinery project in Port Sudan, all in partnership with the Sudanese state. For the year ended March 2006, the company pumped 81,600 barrels of oil from Sudan, which comes to a fifth of its total international oil and gas production.
Malaysia is the second-largest investor in Sudan after China, according to the local New Straits Times.
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