The Malaysian oil and gas giant Petronas, currently engulfed in a dispute with the government in Sudan, said that both the complex and the land it is built on were among its few remaining assets in the country.
According to Malaysia’s news agency Bernama, Petronas released a statement disclosing that the company owned nothing in Sudan “apart from the land and the building”, as well as a 2% share in “the company that operates a crude oil transportation system in the country.”
The statement assured that Petronas was going to surrender its 2% share to Sudanese government as per agreement during the first quarter of 2022.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced regarding the Sudanese transitional government – working through its Empowerment Removal Committee – had sought confiscating Petronas’ assets after alleging they had been acquired unlawfully during ousted president Omar al-Bashir’s time.
Petronas, in a statement, stated that the rights to the land the currently hosts the Petronas complex, were acquired rightfully.
In December of 2020, the Empowerment Removal Committee announced that it was able to confiscate a tower in Khartoum that belonged to Petronas due to the 29,000 square meter plot, which formerly housed a high school, was “sold fraudulently by the governor of Khartoum to Petronas” for their tower.
The committee also stated that they were able to refund 4.499 million Petronas shares back to the Sudanese government.
The government in Sudan also stated that it has issued an arrest warrant for what was first reported as Petronas’ “country manager”.
The Bernama report clarified that three partners in Petro Dar, a joint venture Petronas is invested in, were targeted by the arrest warrant, over two separate trade union claims pertaining to “minimum wage increment and leave compensation.”
Petronas, in its efforts to pursue positive developments, had filed a request for arbitration at the International Centre for Settlement of Dispute (ICSID) on the matter.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malaysia had previously summoned the Sudanese charge d’affairs in the country to convey the concerns.
The Foreign Ministry had also announced last week that it was working closely with Petronas and the Malaysian Embassy in Sudan – which is situated within the Petronas complex – to help tackle the issue.