Overview of Oil and Gas Fields in South Sudan
As of March 2012, nearly all of the oil produced in South Sudan came from Blocks 3, 7 and 5A, located mostly within South Sudanese territory, as well as Blocks 1, 2, and 4, located in an area that straddles Sudan, South Sudan, and the disputed Abyei region.
Blocks 3, 7
Blocks 3 and 7 are located in the Melut Basin in the northeast of South Sudan, which contains the Fal, Adar Yale, and Palogue oil fields. The blocks are operated by the Petrodar consortium, led by CNPC and Malaysia's Petronas with a 41 percent and 40 percent stake in the consortium, respectively. Production in the two blocks averaged about 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the heavy, highly acidic Dar blend in 2011.
Block 5A, located in north-central South Sudan, is operated by a joint venture between Petronas, ONGC and Nilepet. As of March 2012 the block had a production capacity of about 25,000 bpd of the Nile blend crude oil.
Blocks 1, 2 and 4
Collectively known as the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP), Blocks 1, 2, 4 are located in the Muglad Basin, covering an area of 48,388 square kilometers. The largest fields in the area are the Heglig and Unity fields, which began production in 1996. Combined production from Blocks 1, 2 and 4 in 2011 was an estimated 120,000 bpd of Nile blend, according to the US Energy Information Administration, down from their 2004 peak of nearly 290,000 bpd.
Since fields within the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP) straddle both Sudans, the area is a subject of ongoing dispute. The Unity field lies fully in South Sudan, but the Heglig field in Block 2 remains disputed. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2009 that two fields from this block - Heglig and Bamboo - belong to the North; but protracted negotiations over the future of these fields have delayed the investment needed to stave off production declines.
In April 2012, South Sudan seized the Heglig field after violent clashes in the border region, in a move UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon called "an infringement on the sovereignty of Sudan and a clearly illegal act".
In Block B, in southeastern South Sudan, the Total-led consortium was as of March 2012 seeking a partner to replace Marathon Oil; Block 5B was under exploration by Nilepet, Petronas and Ascom, which were seeking additional partners in the block. South Sudan's Ministry of Petroleum and Mining reported at the Oil Investment Conference, in the capital Juba in March 2012, that the National Petroleum Commission had recently mapped out a new block, Block EA, which runs along existing fields in the Muglad Basin. It also said it was seeking additional partners in Block A, in north-central South Sudan.
- "EIA Country Analysis" US Energy Information Administration, 19 March 2012.
- "Head of Petrodar oil company expelled from South Sudan" Sudan Tribune, 21 February 2012.
- "Oil Investment Conference" Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, March 2012.
- "UN says South Sudan seized Heglig oil field illegally" BBC News Africa, 19 April 2012.