Thar Jath oil field
Drilling activities and oil production in Thar Jath, located in Unity state, began in April 1999 by the International Petroleum Company (IPC), owned by Sweden's Lundin Petroleum. As of late 2011, Thar Jath was operated by the White Nile Petroleum Operating Company (WNPOC), which started oil production from the field in April 2006.
Production from Block 5A, which includes Thar Jath and the Mala field, was about 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2008, according to the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), with full capacity estimated at 60,000 bpd. According to ECOS, Thar Jath crude’s quality is poor and has to be mixed with Nile Blend to prevent a price discount.
Human rights and environmental issues
When production first began at Thar Jath in the late 1990s, "the local communities living in or near it experienced attacks, harassment and displacement from the central government and from breakaway groups of [the Sudan People's Liberation Movement] SPLM/A during the war”, wrote Maren Gunnarson Fallet for the Norwegian Department of International Environment and Development Studies in May 2010. Block 5A was the site of major human rights violations when Lundin was the lead operator of the block until 2003. In 2009, German development organisation Sign of Hope accused WNPOC, operator of the field, of contaminating water supplies in the area, affecting at least 300,000 people in Unity state.
- "South Sudan’s Oil: A Common Good?" Comboni.org, 17 August 2011.
- "Sudan’s Oil Industry on the Eve of Referendum" European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, 17 August 2011.
- "The Impact of the Oil Industry on Local Communities in South Sudan" Department of International Environment and Development Studies, May 2010.
- "Oil 'polluting South Sudan water'" BBC News, 16 November 2009.