Pertamina Takes Stake in Sudanese Oil, Gas Block

JAKARTA ~ State oil and gas firm Pertamina has taken a 15-percent stake in an oil and gas block in Sudan, a spokesman said.

Pertamina spokesman Toharso said the firm was in a joint partnership to explore the block over the next four years with China National Petroleum Company as its main partner, along with Sudan’s national oil company Sudapet, and three other companies with smaller stakes.

He declined to estimate the value of Pertamina’s investment.

Pertamina’s upstream director Sukusen Soemarinda said last week the company had signed a joint operation contract with its partners.

Activists say that bloodshed in Sudan’s Darfur, where at least 200,000 people have been killed and two million driven from their homes since February 2003, according to UN figures, is partly fuelled by the hunt for oil there.

China, Sudan’s top oil buyer and weapons supplier, has come under fire for its involvement with Khartoum, which stands accused of unleashing government forces and the Janjaweed militia in Darfur to fight rebels.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s only member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries but has become a net importer of oil in recent years largely due to an infrastructure crunch.

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