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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 07:46 GMT
Talisman promises Sudanese sale
Sudanese oil worker
Human rights groups pressured Talisman to pull-out
Canadian energy group Talisman has promised that the $758m sale of its Sudanese oil project to India will go ahead, despite months of delays.

The sale to India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) would end stinging criticism of the company by human rights groups, who claim the Sudanese government uses the oil revenues to buy arms to fight a civil war.

"Although there have been delays, completion of the Sudan sale is progressing," the company said in a statement.

"Discussions have progressed between the Government of Sudan and the other owners of the Greater Nile Oil Project and consent documentation is being finalised."

The deal was due to be completed by the end of 2002, but is now expected to be sealed by March.

Profitable delay

The company confirmed the delay will benefit its bottom-line due to the high oil price and three month of unexpected production from Sudan.

The assurance came as Canada's second largest oil exploration and production company announced profits in the fourth quarter had quadrupled to C$182m (77.9m; $123m).

Talisman announced in October last year that it had agreed to sell its Sudanese oil and gas assets to ONGC.

Sudanese prospects

On Monday Swedish oil exploration company Lundin Petroleum said it would consider reducing its investments in Sudan, but ruled out a total withdrawal like Talisman.

The company halted drilling in 2002 after attacks on its sites and has said it will only resume operations once there is a peace agreement.

Peace talks to end Sudan's 20-year civil war, which has claimed more than two million lives, are ongoing.

The Islamic government in the north is fighting separatists seeking more autonomy for the mainly Christian south, the location of most of the country's oil.




SEE ALSO:
Sudan compromise urged
23 Jan 03 |  Africa
Oil giant exits Sudan
31 Oct 02 |  Business
India eyes Sudan oil investment
18 Jun 02 |  Business


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