Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC)

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The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) is a consortium of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) (40 percent share), Malaysia's Petronas (30 percent), India's ONGC (25 percent) and South Sudan's national oil company Nilepet (5 percent).[1][2][3] The consortium controls oil blocks 1, 2 and 4,[1] collectively known as the Greater Nile Oil Project and containing fields that straddle the border between the two Sudans.[4]


GNPOC acquired an interest in blocks 1, 2, and 4 from Canada's Arakis Energy Corporation in December 1996. In March 1997, GNPOC began to build a 1540 kilometer (km) oil pipeline from the oilfields to a marine export terminal on the Red Sea; the first 1,500 barrels of crude oil traveled through the pipeline in August 1999.[5]

GNPOC’s production in blocks 1, 2 and 4 reached its peak of 328,000 bbl/d in 2005. According to a report by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), GNPOC’s policy to pump as much as possible as quickly as possible led to a loss of production potential at the fields; by April 2008, the publishing date of the ECOS report, the Heglig and Unity fields were in decline with produced water ratios exceeding 65%.[6]

The Neem field in Block 4, which came on stream in July 2006, offset most of the decline in production from the Unity and Heglig fields[5] and by 2007, GNPOC was producing from eight main oil fields: Heglig, Unity, El Toor, El Noor, Toma South, Bamboo, Munga and Diffra. The oil was transported through the GNPOC pipeline supplying over 60,000 barrels of oil per day for local consumption to the El Obied and the Khartoum refineries in Sudan, with the remaining portion exported through thee marine terminals in Port Sudan, on Sudan's Red Sea coast.[6]

ECOS wrote in 2008 that production from the Neem field together with other, smaller new fields, would allow GNPOC to remain Sudan’s main oil producing company for a few more years.[5]

Environmental record

The April 2008 ECOS report stated that GNPOC's oil extraction activities in Western Upper Nile were known to discharge large quantities of contaminated water onto the surface, to the detriment of the agro-pastoralists in the area. The discharged water was not potable for humans, according to ECOS, unfit for animals and too filthy for irrigation; in most oil areas there was no proper sewage treatment, and flare pits, drilling pits, sewage pits and garbage pits were left behind without care.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "IMPLEMENTING CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN SOUTH SUDAN" Integrity Research and Consultancy, October 2011.
  2. "Oil Investment Conference" Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, March 2012.
  3. "Sudan accuses south of seizing Sudapet’s shares" Sudan Tribune, 17 November 2011.
  4. "Sudan and South Sudan" EIA Country Analysis Briefs, 19 March 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Sudan's Oil Industry" European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, April 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Project Overview" GNPOC website, Retrieved 17 July 2012.