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China to increase investment in Sudan's oil industry: ambassador

Juba — China's ambassador to Sudan, Li Lian, says Beijing will increase its investments in the East African country's oil industry and support its program to increase oil production.

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China's CNPC is the largest investor in Sudan's oil industry, followed by Malaysia and India.

"CNPC has reduced its foreign investments due to lower global [oil] prices, with the exception of Sudan, for the durability, strength and strategic dimension of the relations between the two countries," Lian was quoted as saying by the state-owned Sudan News Agency, or SUNA, late Tuesday.

"China's relations with Sudan is considered a model for south-south cooperation," Lian said, after meeting with the Sudan's oil and gas minister Mohamed Awad Zayid on Tuesday.

Lian did not say how much more Beijing intends to invest in Sudan, but it had invested more than $20 billion in the country before South Sudan's secession in July 2011, according to Chinese media reports.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Zayid said Sudan aimed to reduce production costs to keep up with the low international oil prices.

"I call upon oil firms to reduce labor costs, expand and increase production activities to achieve high returns," Zayid said.

Sudan's oil production has dwindled since South Sudan's secession four years ago.

Prior to the breakaway of the southern part of the country, Sudan used to produce nearly 500,000 b/d of crude oil.

The oil ministry's medium-term plan is to increase production from the current 133,000 b/d to 320,000 b/d of crude oil in 2017.

--Moyiga Nduru,
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,