March 20, 2019 / 5:10 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Sudan says Egyptian Red Sea oil and gas blocks are on its territory

CAIRO, March 20 (Reuters) - Sudan considers oil and gas exploration blocks offered by Egypt in the Red Sea’s Halayeb area as a direct intrusion into Sudanese territory, Saad al-Deen Hussein al-Bishri, minister of state at Khartoum’s oil ministry, was cited as saying.

The Halayeb triangle, which is controlled by Egypt, has been claimed by Sudan since the 1950s. However, Cairo says it is Egyptian territory and it has long been a source of contention between the two neighbours.

“It is considered an illegal operation that carries legal consequences which will be borne by the entities carrying out this operation,” al-Bishri was quoted as saying by Sudan’s state news agency SUNA on Wednesday.

Egypt’s South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Co offered 10 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Red Sea for sale through a tender on March 10, with bids due to close on Aug. 1.

Al-Bishri said that offering four of those 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”. (Reporting by Hesham Hajali Writing by Yousef Saba Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alexander Smith)

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