ONGC shuts down South Sudan oilfields, evacuates employees

12/23/2013

ONGC shuts down South Sudan oilfields, evacuates employees

NEW DELHI (PTI) -- India has evacuated all its ONGC employees from strife-torn South Sudan and shut down oilfields amid escalating violence in the world's youngest nation. All 11 executives working on 40,000 bopd Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A were airlifted, a top source with direct knowledge of the development said.

"The evacuation happened in two batches. All the officials have arrived in India safely," he said. Before departure, the last job the Indian executives did was to shut down the oilfields yesterday. ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned ONGC, had deputed 11 employees at Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A in Sudan.

The company made all arrangements to evacuate its personnel as rebel forces loyal to deposed South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar captured Unity state which housed most of the fields it was operating.

OVL owns 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project which produces about 40,000 bopd and 24% in Block 5A that produced 5,000 bopd. Other partners in the blocks, China's CNPC and Petronas of Malaysia, too have decided to evacuate their officials from South Sudan, the source said.

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 source said rebels so far have not captured any of OVL's oil wells but as a precaution all of them were shut before officials left the country.

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