SUDAN

US major ExxonMobil has suspended its exploration plans with France’s Total in South Sudan, in what is sure to be a blow to the country’s future oil industry prospects, already hit by close to nine months of ethnically-fueled conflict.

After years of discussion, Exxon was drafted in by project operator Total to take control of a 30% share in the Block B license which had been left idle since late-2007, when fellow US firm Marathon Oil withdrew from the project. Marathon...