Another maritime boundary dispute in Africa could be getting started as Sudan’s Foreign Ministry summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Khartoum, Hossam Issa, over Egypt offering oil and gas exploration blocks “in Red Sea areas subject to Sudanese sovereignty.”
Just recently Egypt’s South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Co. or Ganope, offered up 10 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Red Sea for sale through a tender, with bids due to close on August 1.
Sudan claims that at least some of those blocks are in its waters and urges oil and gas companies against submitting bids on them.
The Halayeb triangle, which is controlled by Egypt, has been claimed by Sudan since the 1950s.
Cairo says it is Egyptian territory and it has long been a source of contention between the two neighbors.
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Badreddin Abdullah expressed Sudan’s protest at the offer and called on Egypt “not to proceed in this direction that contradicts the legal status of the Halayeb triangle,” the Ministry said in a statement.
On March 20, Saad al-Deen Hussein al-Bishri, Minister of State at Khartoum’s Ministry of Oil, said that offering four of the 10 blocks and other unnamed ones “within Sudanese lands in the Halayeb area … are considered a direct intrusion into the authorities of the Sudanese Oil and Gas Ministry in granting licenses for oil and gas exploration in that area.”
A report by SUNA, Sudan’s state-news agency, cited al Bishiri as saying “It is considered an illegal operation that carries legal consequences which will be borne by the entities carrying out this operation.”
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry “warns companies operating in the field of oil and gas exploration against submitting any bids in the mentioned area”, it said in the statement.
Sudan “renews the invitation extended to brotherly Egypt to use peaceful means to end this border dispute.”