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Indian oil company says won’t withdraw arbitration claim against Sudan

JPEG - 12.2 kb Indian petroleum company, ONGC Videsh Limited Last April, ONGC filed an arbitration claim against the government of Sudan in a London court seeking to recover $98.94 million, pending for years from a project hit by the breakaway of South Sudan in 2011.

Earlier this month, Sudan’s Minister of Oil and Gas Azhari Abdel-Gadir said an agreement has been reached on all pending issues pertaining to financial claims between ONGC and the government of Sudan, stressing the Indian company has withdrawn a claim it has filed against Sudan in this regard.

However, ONGC said that Sudan’s ministerial delegation that visited New Delhi earlier this month promised that Sudan was making sincere efforts to mitigate the issue of default on paying dues, stressing the arbitration process cannot be withdrawn as it is an intricate issue.

In a statement on Friday, ONGC said it would continue with the arbitration process while working with Sudan to arrive at a suitable mechanism of resolving the issue.

It added that ONGC has deployed a team of senior-level officials to Sudan to renew techno-commercial discussions so as to work out a way forward for the settlement of past dues.

ONGC’s stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP) comprised Blocks 1, 2 and 4, and the firm also agreed to build a 1,500-kilometre pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

But in 2011 South Sudan broke away from Sudan and took control of blocks 1A, 1B and a part of block 4.

Also, due to the U.S. trade sanctions, Khartoum was unable to secure oil for its refineries and asked ONGC to sell its share of oil from blocks 1, 2 and 4.

In 2016, the Indian company signed a separate agreement with Sudan for the sale of its share of GNOP oil. However, Sudan has not yet paid $90.81 million to ONGC for purchases of oil in 2016 and 2017.

(ST)

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