Sudan plans to create opportunities for foreign investment in the extraction of natural gas as well as to import gas, both aimed at fuelling power generation and industry, President Omar al-Bashir said on Sunday.
Sudan has proven gas reserves of 3 trillion cubic feet, but development has been limited. It also does not have the pipelines or the port terminals to bring in gas or liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Bashir said the government had established a state-owned gas company to facilitate gas imports and would build a gas pipeline from Port Sudan on the Red Sea to the capital.
"We will work to increase the production of gas inside Sudan and ... to open the doors to investment," he said, adding that the constitution was being amended to specify the authority responsible for facilitating foreign investment.
Hydropower facilities generate the bulk of Sudan's power, but the EIA report said that using gas could help reduce energy costs.
The moves could also be geared toward taking advantage of increasingly friendly ties with Qatar, the world's top LNG exporter.
Earlier this month, Sudan's defence minister said the country was in talks with Qatar over imports and hoped to get shipments as early as next year.
Qatar has been known to strengthen ties with allies by giving them cargoes of LNG. It helped Sudan's neighbour, Egypt, during Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's year in power by arranging a gas "swap" to ease energy shortages there.
Sudan's economy was hit hard by the secession of the oil-rich southern part of the country in 2011. The government cut fuel subsidies in 2013 to make up for lost oil revenues, pushing up living costs.
Millions of people in Sudan do not have access to electricity or basic services.
Copyright Reuters 2014.