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“是时候来苏丹开发资源了”



文I本刊记者 许成之  张梅  卢爱任    翻译I王晓波


● 石油对我们非常重要

应对挑战

两国合作成就与挑战

● 期望与建议


2018年5月14日,苏丹总统巴希尔颁布命令,对现有政府主要官员进行大幅调整,其中原苏丹石油勘探和生产管理局长艾兹哈里被任命为石油和天然气部长。7月,应苏丹驻华使馆邀请,《中国投资》杂志派记者走进苏丹采访报道,在苏丹石油和天然气部会议室,艾兹哈里向记者阐述苏丹石油天然气领域的发展目标与两国合作前景。


“石油对我们非常重要”



《中国投资》:我们想知道现在对于苏丹的国家经济发展来说,石油和天然气有着怎样重要的作用?


艾兹哈里:简单说,非常重要。事实上,苏丹的整体经济都要在很大程度上依靠石油资源。早在1999年,我们就开始生产和出口石油,并在当年的8月就实现了第一批出口。当然在此过程中,中国石油化工集团公司不仅在上游的准备工作中发挥了重要作用,而且在建输油管道和出口石油时也给予了我们极大的帮助。从那时开始,随着日产石油的日益增加,苏丹的经济也取得了很大发展。到2011年南苏丹分裂前,苏丹石油生产已经从过去的每天12万桶增加到50万桶。所以说,苏丹的国内生产总值能够保持快速增长的确依靠石油开发,而且它还带动整体经济的发展,因此其重要性是不言而喻的。南苏丹分裂后,75%的石油资源属于他们,这严重损害了国家的经济平衡。这不仅对我们影响很大,对国际社会的影响也很大,所以他们都要为南苏丹为这一经济动荡付出代价。这也就是为什么南苏丹同意在三年半的时间里支付共计约350亿美元。总之,再次回答你提出的问题:石油对我们非常重要。



《中国投资》:但是自南苏丹陷入内战后,事实上它一直处于内战状态中,它有能力支付吗?


艾兹哈里:分裂是2011年7月发生的,在此之前南苏丹非常和平,人民生活也很幸福。可是分裂后就出现了问题,不同派别之间的冲突不断。因此,刚开始的时候,他们还可以按照根据生产能力所签订的协议支付费用,每桶石油我们可以得到15美元及其他费用。但是后来爆发了战争,2015年生产停止了。现在东部的生产已经恢复,但西部的生产仍未恢复。



《中国投资》:恢复石油生产能给双方带来哪些益处?您能详细介绍一下吗?


艾兹哈里:益处主要体现在两个方面。从政治层面看,两个国家的稳定与和平对双方来说是最重要的结果。从经济层面看,销售石油对南苏丹政府是很有利的,因为他们拥有丰富的石油资源。而且这对苏丹也是有益的,因为输油管道需要经过我国国境抵达港口,而且加工中心也在苏丹,所以他们需要向苏丹政府支付费用。恢复生产也就意味着支付体系的恢复。没有生产,就不可能有支付。


应对挑战



《中国投资》:显然自2011年以来,苏丹的经济遭到重创。苏丹现在的石油和天然气产业发展得怎样?遇到了哪些挑战?政府对此采取了什么应对措施?


艾兹哈里:我想谈三个原因。第一,1997年美国对苏丹实行了禁运,一直持续到去年十月,一共是二十年的禁运。刚开始,禁运还不是非常严厉,但是后来越来越严。与苏丹有交易的欧洲银行都会受到重罚。这是一个原因。另一个原因当然就是分裂。第三个原因是从2014年开始石油价格大幅下降。到2016年1月,每桶石油的价格从以前的110美元跌到只有28美元。

由于这三个原因的合力作用,对石油产业的影响巨大。而且这也使苏丹不得不向中国石油化工集团公司这样的投资者借款,结果又导致了巨额债务的产生,对经济发展和提高石油产量均造成了不利影响。总之,这些年我们面对的形势很不好,但仍在努力应对。非常感谢中石油这样的公司,他们不仅理解我们,而且与我们并肩应对挑战,所以苏丹才能够维持下来。


两国合作成就与挑战



《中国投资》:既然您提到了中石油,那么您如何看待中国的石油和天然气的发展?在这一行业,您对中国与苏丹有怎样的比较?


艾兹哈里:两国之间显然存在着极大的差距。中国无疑对石油有着巨大的需求。虽然中国自己也生产大量的石油和天然气,但产量远远无法满足中国快速发展的需要。中国现在是世界第二大经济体,因此完全能够负担得起进口石油。可苏丹的情况就不一样了。自从南苏丹分裂出去后,我们处境一直很艰难。有许多其他因素也产生了不利影响,而且环境始终不太稳定。不过,在我看来,现在已经进入了新阶段,一个将会对投资者有利的阶段。苏丹的资源非常丰富,不只有石油,还有许多其他资源,比如水资源是世界上最充沛的国家之一。土地肥沃,可耕地面积超过了两亿公顷,还有4000多万头牲畜。矿产资源,比如铁、铜、金和铬,也很丰富。知道最近发生了什么吗?就在不久前经过调解,我们与南苏丹达成了和平协议,所有的派别都签字了。在此基础上,两国的石油部长在总统的授意下,同意在自2013年以来就已停产的地区恢复生产。我六月份刚刚去过那里。

这对许多国家来说都是很好的消息。苏丹在这方面有技术和专业的技术人员、地质学家、工程师以及所有的恢复生产所需的人力资源。还有许多公司和油田服务公司,它们对恢复生产并使之尽快重回正轨能起到很大的帮助作用。



《中国投资》:2011年以来,中国与苏丹在石油和天然气领域的合作取得了哪些成就?有哪些典型的或者示范性的项目吗?


艾兹哈里:2011年以来,由于南苏丹的分裂导致我国石油储量大幅减少。再加上其他不利因素的影响,比如油价下跌,使投资者对我们的货币和投资前景都失去了信心。由于油价已经跌到每桶28美元,对包括中石油在内的投资者来说的确不是投资的好时机。当然,一些地方的开采成本比较低,一桶石油的成本差不多需要19、20美元。可是如果以19、20美元的成本开采,有时成本也会达到24美元,然后再以28美元的价格售出,这从做生意的角度看是没有意义的。即便如此,开采也始终没有停止,这也是我们对中石油以及马来西亚石油公司和印度石油公司深表感谢的原因。当1997年开始合作时,中石油与我们的关系非常密切,并在石油开采和生产方面发挥了重要影响。他们建输油管道的时间创下了历史记录,只用了11个月,他们共建了1500多公里的管道。还在喀土穆建造了炼油厂,它不仅是苏丹石油工业的重要成就和重大里程碑,也是苏丹石油部与中石油合作的一个关键项目。



《中国投资》:那么往前看,中国与苏丹在石油和天然气方面的合作还面临着哪些挑战?我们应当怎样应对这些可能的挑战?为了实现目标或计划,你们对中方有哪些期望?


艾兹哈里:现在可能是最好的时机,因为有许多事情正在发生。首先,我们与南苏丹实现了稳定和平的关系,这为两国从现有的石油产业中获取收入创造了机会。这方面的工作很快就会展开,而且它对中石油和其他投资者也是非常有利的。因为作为我们的合作伙伴,他们很快也能从收入中获益。第二,也是非常重要的一点,就是对我们的一些禁运解除了。其实去年10月禁运就被宣布解除了,但它对我们的交易仍有所限制。不过就在前不久,外国资产管制处(美国政府负责金融禁运的组织)明确宣布了两项措施,允许我们自由地进行银行交易。因此,现在对投资者来说,他们都无需担心将资金汇入或汇出苏丹,而这在以前是不可能的,对他们和我们都是最棘手的问题。但情况发生改变,我们也做好了恢复经济的准备。此外,通过与南苏丹签署和平协议,投资者们也可以从苏丹前往南苏丹进行投资,因为苏丹总统已宣布,在和平环境下,可以开放边境,以便于双边贸易往来。

这就意味着苏丹将彻底对外开放其石油及其他资源。有必要指出的是,苏丹是投资者们和商人前往西非和东非投资和贸易的通道。在苏丹,石油和天然气部作为一个特设机构负责投资和经营的所有事项,包括税收、缴费和人员往来等。我们是政府全权授权的机构,一切相关事宜都可在这个大楼里办理完成。也就是说,我们能够提供一站式服务,各部门需要的文件都可以在这里签署,我们是他们的监管和代理人。这为投资者提供了极大方便,他们只需来这里办理所有手续,然后即可开始投资。

所以,我想借此机会邀请那些还没有来过苏丹的中国公司,现在真的是时候来苏丹开发这里的资源了,我们还有大约18个区域尚未得到开发。


期望与建议



《中国投资》:您对未来中国与苏丹在油气和其他领域的合作有哪些展望?


艾兹哈里:在石油和天然气方面,由于受分裂和其他因素的影响,我们的处境一直都很艰难。但苏丹现在正在走出困境。对中石油和其他中国公司来说,我们曾经有过很好的合作,也取得了非凡的成就。事实上我们的项目是中石油走向海外的第一批项目。在合作过程中我们建立了亲密的关系。期望中国投资者能利用这一大好时机,展开对石油和天然气产业的投资。当然如你提到的,也可以投资其他领域。一些中国公司已经在建筑业、电力和农业进行投资。建筑业的覆盖面很广,包括修建大坝、道路和跨境公路以及各类建筑物。我们现在使用的这座大楼就是一家中国公司建造的。还有采矿业,也有中国公司在投资。所以说,两国在投资方面的合作存在着诸多途径。



《中国投资》:最后,请您对中国潜在的投资者们提些建议。


艾兹哈里:苏丹拥有大量的资源,而且种类众多,因此现在有许多国家非常愿意来投资。事实上,我们已经迎来了第一家美国公司,而且带着他们的设备。这家公司是贝克休斯公司,它是世界四大油田服务公司之一。他们与我们的一家国有公司成立了合资公司。这件事能够充分证明当前的形势,过去我们一直邀请美国公司前来投资,但从未得到过回应。现在他们来了,这向中国的投资者发出了一个积极的信号。形势的确正在向好的方向发展,出现了许多机会。虽然投资者任何时候来都会受到欢迎,但早来的可能会抢占到更好的先机。我还想告诉潜在的投资者,我们不仅欢迎你们的到来,并为你们在这里的营商活动提供便利,确保你们的投资富有成效。我代表政府向他们保证,会为他们营造必要的环境,并采取必要的措施确保他们在这里工作愉快。我还想说,这里的气候很好,人民也很友好。以前许多中国朋友来这里开采石油,他们很喜欢这里,有些人甚至都不想回去了。我没有开玩笑,他们真的喜欢这里。我们也很喜欢他们。这点非常重要。他们可以很放松地走在大街上,这里很安全,也很美。最重要的是,这里到处都是资源。而且政府也非常愿意为投资提供便利条件,让所有的手续都简单明了,容易办理。(编辑:杨海霞)




Xu Chengzhi  ZhangMei  Lu Airen,  China Investment



On May 14, 2018, Sudanese President issued an order to make major adjustments to the main government officials. Former Sudanese Oil Exploration and Production Management Director Mr.AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla were appointed Minister of Sundan’s Ministry of Petroleum & Gas. In July, at the invitation of the Sudanese Embassy to China, In the meeting room of Sudan's ministry of petroleum and gas, Mr. Azhari, the minister, explained to reporters the development goals of Sudan's oil and gas field and the prospect of cooperation between the two countries.



China Investment: Thank you, minister. Thank you for your time and agreeing to receive us and accepting the interview. We'd like to know like how important now is the oil and gas in the national economic development of Sudan?


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: It's very important, in brief, but actually, the economy of Sudan is dependent, to a great degree, on the oil resources. Historically, we started producing and exporting oil back in 1999. And that was the first cargo in August of 1999. Of course CNPC the Chinese company had a major role not only in the upstream preparations, but also downstream by constructing the pipeline, then actual exported oil. Since then, there was a lot of development in Sudan going in parallel with an increase in the daily production. So this increase went from 120,000 to close to 500,000 barrels per day back in the 2011 just before the secession of South Sudan. Yes, so with that development, the economy became dependent on these resources to maintain a quick GDP growth. It became very important in driving all of the economic growth and progress in the country. So it's very important. Then after secession of South Sudan, about 75% of the resources went to South Sudan, and that's really compromised the economic balance in this country. And I guess it makes sense. It also made sense to the international community, to the point they all encouraged South Sudan to pay for this economic shock, if you will. And that's why they agreed to pay around 3.5 billion dollars to pay in three and half years. So to answer your question, yes, it's very important. 



China Investment: But since South Sudan was in civil war, basically has been civil war, is South Sudan able to pay?


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla:  Well, when the secession took place in July 2011, South Sudan was very peaceful and everybody was happy. Then the trouble started later to the point there was fighting between the different factions. So in the beginning, they were paying based on the agreement which was linked to the level of production. So for every barrel we're getting fifteen dollars and so on. So they paid until the war broke in South Sudan and then the production stopped in 2015. The production resumed in the eastern part, but in the western part, the production did not resume. 



China Investment: So since 2011, obviously, there's a shock to the Sudan economy. How has the oil and gas industry developed in Sudan and what challenges has industry encounter, and how has the government dealt with those challenges?


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: Three issues I must mention. Number one, 1997. There was an embargo imposed upon Sudan by the United States, and that continued until 2017, just last year, last October, actually. So 20 years of embargo. In the beginning, it was not that tight. But as we went along, you've got tighter and tighter to the point there were big fines on some of the European banks that were dealing with Sudan. That's one factor. The other factor, of course, is secession.

The third one was the sharp decline in oil price in 2014. You know, we went from 110 dollars down to 28 dollars a barrel in the January of 2016. 

So these three factors work together and impacted heavily the oil industry. And of course that also caused Sudan to borrow from the investors like CNPC and others. But that's created huge amount of debt, but you know that also negatively impact the progress in terms of developing and producing more oil. So all in all, it's negative, you know, for all these time, but we managed to survive. We do thank companies like CNPC you know, for understanding and also standing shoulder to shoulder with us, you know, so we can still continue.



China Investment: Okay, you mention CNPC, so how do you see China's oil and gas development? Like how do you compare China and Sudan in this respect?


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla:  Well, of course, it's a big difference. China has a huge demand, of course. And although in China to produce in oil quite substantial oil and gas, you know, like Daqing the last account they were producing close to 78,000 barrels a day, used to be more than that for more than thirty years. And also they produce in a filed called Liaohe and also in the west Xinjiang area, Sichuan, so there’s a lot of production. But it still has not been enough, to meet the fast development in China. China is the number two economy in the world now. They can afford to import. But for Sudan, like I said, after the separation of south Sudan, it has been really difficult. So many other factors also play a role. And we had a little bit of instable, you know the environment here. But we are now in my opinion about to enter into a new phase, which is going to be good, actually, for any investor to come to this country. This country is full of resources, not only oil, so much resources and this is in terms of natural water resource, probably one of the highest in the world, in terms of fertile land, more than 200 million hectares, arable land, in terms of live stocks, more than forty million heads, in terms of minerals – iron, copper, gold, chromium  and so on. Also we have oil and guess what this is. So what's happening now? Just recently about ten days or two weeks ago, our president mediated to reach peace in South Sudan. All factions signed to that. And then based on that, our ministry directed by our president and ministry, our counter partners also directed with their president, and I had just one visit there in June, just so we agreed to resume production from the field where we stopped production since 2013.

And that would be great for most countries. We have the know-how in Sudan. We have the technicians, geologists, engineers, physicists and so on, all the human resources needed to work on this to help the resumption. But also we have a lot of companies, field service companies that can also help in bringing up production and put them back on track. 



China Investment: How will the resumption of the oil production benefit both sides? Can you explain that a little bit? 


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: In two aspects, from a political point of you, the stability and the peace that will come to both countries is the foremost and most important outcome of this. But also economically, there would be benefits from selling the oil for the government of South Sudan, because they own large resource. But for us also, since the pipelines cross our land to the port, and also the processing centers also located in Sudan. So there would be fees to be paid to the government of Sudan. So that will also resume paying the so called financial assistance because that is linked to the production. If there is no production, then there's no payment.



China Investment:  So since 2011, in terms of China-Sudan cooperation in the oil and gas sector, what has been achieved? Anything outstanding?  Any typical or exemplary projects in this corporation?


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: Yeah, well, since 2011, the amount of oil reserves dwindled immediately after secession. Along with other factors that took place after the secession, such as the drop in oil price, it was not conducive, you know, for the investors to bring in our currency and to invest. Because the oil price went all the way down to 28 dollars per barrel. For any investor including CNPC it was not really an exciting moment. The cost here, of course, is low in some cases in some of the blocks, which is 19 or 20 dollars. So if you were producing for 19 or 20 dollars, sometimes 24 dollars, and then you sold for 28 dollars, it didn't make sense businesses-wise. So that by itself slowed down the process for the investors, including CNPC. Nevertheless, there was still work ongoing. And that's why I say we do appreciate the support, you know, from CNPC as well as Petronas the Malaysian company, or Oil India. But if we go before 2011, there was huge cooperation, you know, when we started this project back in 1997, CNPC had a huge impact on the oil exploration, development and production. They built, constructed the pipeline in record time, eleven months by working day and night in the field. And then they constructed more than one thousand five hundred kilometers. They also constructed the refinery in Khartoum, which was a great achievement and a very important milestone in the oil industry in Sudan. And also was a key cooperation between the ministry and the CNPC. So there were many achievements. 



China Investment:  And so, looking ahead, are there any challenges in terms of China-Sudan cooperation in oil and gas sector?  And how can we cope with possible challenges? And what expectation do you have from the Chinese side to help achieve goals or plans if there're any? 

 

AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla:  This is probably the best time. Now, so many things are happening. Number one, we have stability along with peace in South Sudan. And that will open up the chance for South Sudan and Sudan to make revenue from the oil already existing in the ground. And like I said, this will start soon. That's one. Of course, that's also good for CNPC and other investors. They are partners there and they will receive part of the revenue immediately. The other thing that's happened and really big, is this some lifting of the embargo. The embargo, back in October was announced that it's been lifted. But to be honest, practically, it was still  impacting or transactions. But just about last week, actually, they announced two measures from the OFAC (an organization in the American government taking care of financial embargos) and these two steps will allow us to have free bank transactions not like before. So now for any investor – it used to be a big problem – now it is not afraid to bring in money and to get out from Sudan, this used to be almost impossible, which created big problem for us. But the environment with these factors was not really conducive and attractive for people to come in. But now it's definitely,  we're ready to take off. Also, the agreement with South Sudan, as well, also will open up a lot of opportunities for any investor was coming to Sudan to also invest in South Sudan, because it has also been announced by our President about ten days ago, that the border points are now open for trade exchange, you know, in this peaceful environment. 

And this will open up Sudan completely for oil resources and other resources. Another point is that, Sudan is actually the corridor we go into western Africa and also into eastern Africa for investment and for bringing the businesses. And I think the other thing also here internally know for the oil and gas. What we do, the ministry of oil and gas has a special entity in terms of all the activities on the requirements – governmental requirements for the investor in oil and gas, would be done in this building, you know, like tax, any fees, immigration issues. We have been fully authorized by the cabinet. The one stop service. One stop, you know, whatever that agreement that we sign. We are the custodian of the agreement from all aspects from us, which makes it very easy to just come in and start investing. 

So I take this opportunity actually to invite Chinese companies who have not yet been to Sudan. You know, now it's really the time and resources are there. We have about 18 blocks lying there to be explored.



China Investment: How do you see the prospect of the future China-Sudan cooperation in oil gas and also beyond in other aspects too? 


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: In oil and gas, there have been some hard time after the secession, and other factors. But my view is that now we are going towards getting out of the hump. With CNPC and all other Chinese companies, we have had an excellent record in terms of achievements, in terms of cooperating together. And also our project actually was one of the first project for CNPC worldwide.  We also created very intimate relationships over the years. My vision is that, from here on out, it's just going to be a very good chance for investment in the oil and gas but also, as you mentioned, other sectors.  Some Chinese companies are already investing in the construction sector, in the electricity power generation, in agriculture. Construction covers so many aspects, you know, like building, constructing dams, roads crossing country roads, and buildings. The building we are in was constructed by a Chinese company as well. So there are many ways of investment cooperation between the two countries.  Also in mining, there are Chinese companies that are investing. 



China Investment: If you are invited to speak directly to the potential Chinese investors, you want them to put their money in Sudan and not other countries, what the message do you have to say to them? 


AzhariAbdul-Gadir Abdalla: My message is  this country is blessed with a huge amount of resources, from all types, all aspects with huge volumes. And that's why now we do have many countries  willing and happy to come and invest. As a matter of fact, now we have the first American company coming Sudan already on the ground with their equipment. This is Baker Hughes. If you heard of Baker Hughes, it is one of the worlds’ four major oilfield service companies. So they created a joint venture with one of our national companies. So that gives you an indication, because we have been inviting in the American companies to come for years, and there was no response. So  now they're coming. That would tell investors in China as a good indication. Yes. You know that things are going to look up and there are so many opportunities in this section. And I would say whoever comes first probably will get the better chance, although all of them are good. I would also say to potential investors that we are more than willing to facilitate their businesses in Sudan and to ensure that their investment would be fruitful for them. Because people are coming and this is business. You know, you want to invest but make profit. And we pledge as the government to create all the necessary environment, and necessary steps for the investors to come and enjoy. And I would say also, so that is a very nice place in terms of the weather, it's a it's a bit dry on that. But the people are friendly. And  many of our Chinese friends, when they come and work in oil, sometimes they don't want to go back. I'm serious, they like it here. And we like them as well. So it's also an important aspect. You know, you're welcome. You can walk around the streets safely. It's very safe and nice. But the most important is it’s full of resources. And the government is now more than willing to facilitate and make all the steps easy and straightforward.