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2014-10-08 20:50:00

CHAD: DOUBLE OIL 2016

CHAD: DOUBLE OIL 2016

Chad expects to double oil production by the end of 2015 as new fields come on stream and has appointed firms to inventory potential mineral deposits in an effort to diversify the economy, its finance minister said.

The former French colony, one of the poorest nations in the world, has been rocked by humanitarian crises over the past decade including conflicts in the east and south, drought in the arid Sahel region and flooding.

That has been compounded since 2012 by instability on its borders with Libya, Nigeria and Central African Republic, forcing Chad to increase its security budget to handle thousands of new refugees and counter a growing cross-border threat.

The landlocked central African country has, nevertheless, seen strong growth over the past decade as it has become an oil producer, although GDP growth slowed to 3.5 percent in 2013 due primarily to lower income from ageing wells in its Doba oilfield.

Speaking to Reuters, Kordje Bedoumra, said the country expected a rebound in the growth rate this year to 11-13 percent and double digits again in 2015 as oil production ramps up.

"We are more or less at around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd)," he said in an interview at an OECD forum on Africa.

"Our expectation is that by the end of this year we can move to 130,000 bpd and by the end of next year probably double that production because we will have new fields."

Bedoumra said output would increase from the Mangara and Badila fields, which are operated by mining company Glencore Xstrata, and a new field managed by a China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) subsidiary.

Chad earlier this year suspended CNPC's further exploration activity, citing violations of environmental standards while it was drilling for crude oil in the south of the country.

It has ordered the company to pay a $1.2 billion fine, for which it filed a claim at the international arbitration court in Paris, and has cancelled five exploration licences held by CNPC, warning that if the fine is not paid it will re-auction them.

GOLD, MINERAL POTENTIAL

Bedoumra said Chad was trying to finally unlock mineral resources after appointing firms, including French consultancy BRGM on a 3.5 year contract, to identify potential sites.

"It's not just oil that we have underground. There are strong indications of gold, nickel, uranium and other minerals. We appointed consultants to identify what there is," he said.

He said GPB Global Resources, a unit of Russia's state-owned Gazprombank Group which in 2012 was awarded a five-year licence to explore for gold in southern Chad, had seen "positive" results and could begin exploiting its field in 2015.

Since seizing power in a 1990 coup, President Idriss Deby has won a series of elections disputed by international observers and faced allegations of graft and rights abuses. He has weathered several rebellions, the most recent in 2008.

Deby has been accused of spending too much on internal security and the military to the detriment of local communities, health and education. However, he has been able to position himself as a regional powerbroker since 2013 after taking part in peace-keeping operations in Mali and Central African Republic.

Chad this year bought three MIG fighter jets to protect against threats from rebels on the Sudanese border, al Qaeda-linked militants in Libya, Nigeria-based Boko Haram from the Lake Chad region, and rebels in Central African Republic.

Bedoumra said there was no price for ensuring stability

"It's not just the refugees. The situation of our neighbours on all sides is a big burden, but we have no choice. We must have measures in place to ensure peace and security," he said.

reuters.com

Tags: CHAD, OIL, AFRICA
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