Evacuates 11 executives working on the Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A

Following escalation of violence in South Sudan, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited (OVL) has shut down its oilfields and has evacuated its dozen-odd employees to India as a precautionary measure. ONGC sources said here that around 11 executives working on Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5Awere airlifted to safety in two batches. All the employees are safe and have reached India after shutting down the oilfields on December 22.

The company was forced to carry out evacuation of all its employees after rebel forces loyal to deposed South Sudanese Vice-President Riek Machar captured Unity state, which housed most of the oil fields it was operating.

OVL owns 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project, which produces about 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), and 24.125 per cent in Block 5A, which t produces 5,000 bpd. Other partners in the blocks—China's CNPC and Petronas of Malaysia too have decided to evacuate their officials from South Sudan. Fighting in South Sudan, which broke out on December 15, has already claimed as many as 500 lives, including Indian soldiers working as United Nations peacekeepers.

The oil produced in OVL's fields and other projects in the country are exported through pipelines across neighbouring Sudan. Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP) comprises of Block 1, 2 & 4. While OVL has 25 per cent stake in the project, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has 40 per cent, Petronas of Malaysia has 30 per cent and Sudapet of Sudan the remaining 5 per cent. In Block 5A, OVL holds 24.125 per cent while Petronas has 67.875 per cent and Sudapet has 8 per cent.

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