Heglig (also spelled Heglieg) is a small border town in South Kordofan state in Sudan. The area was contested during the Sudanese Civil War. In mid-April 2012, the South Sudanese army captured the Heglig oil field from Sudan.
Sudan claimed it took back the oil-rich region of Heglig after a 10-day occupation by South Sudan’s army (SPLA). Officials in South Sudan denied being forced out and insisted that they voluntarily withdrew. South Sudan was under strong pressure from the international communities such as the UN, the EU and the AU and some strong countries like USA and British to withdraw its troop from Heglig unconditionally. The South Sudan government abandoned the area after 10 days responding to an urgent calling by UN and the President of United States of America, Barack Obama, to withdraw, but Sudan claimed to have forced South Sudan's army (SPLA) to leave the area.
Heglig is the Arabic name of the "desert date", the fruit of the Balanites aegyptiaca tree, which is found in most parts of Africa and the Middle East. Sudanese Sufis use heglig (lalob) seeds to make rosaries. Lalob is also a favorite food for camels. South Sudan does not recognise the name Heglig for the town. During the 10-day occupation by the SPLA, South Sudan named the town Panthou, a Dinka translation of the word heglig The above note is wrong citation about Panthou. Panthou is combination of two words in Dinka; Pand which mean the area or home and Thou for the tree (desert dates), in which Panthou is mean land or home of desert's date. There are many places around the Dinka areas that have the name of Panthou. It was translated to Arabic word of heglig when the oil was discovered on it.
Heglig oil field
Heglig is situated within the Muglad Basin, a rift basin which contains much of Sudan's proven oil reserves. The Heglig oil field was first developed in 1996 by Arakis Energy (now part of Talisman Energy). Today it is operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. Production at Heglig is reported to have peaked in 2006 and is now in decline. The Heglig oil field is connected to Khartoum and Port Sudan via the Greater Nile Oil Pipeline.
In July 2009, the international organization, Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) redefined the boundaries of Abyei, a county that lies between Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan. The decision placed the Heglig and Bamboo oilfields out of Abyei boundary but didn't specify to be belong to the Northern Sudan district of South Kurdufan, nor to Upper Nile region,South Sudan and also the decision did not specify oil sharing. The Government of Sudan claimed that area is belong to its country since it was ruled to be out of Abyei boundary by (PCA) and announced they would not share any oil revenue with the Government of South Sudan, emphasizing that the (PCA) established that Heglig was part of the North. The document of the PCA only indicated that the Heglig or Panthou area is not part of Abyei.
- Sudan says South Sudan controls largest oil field - BBC News, 10 April 2012
- APS Review Downstream Trends 2007, 'SUDAN: The oil sector', www.entrepreneur.com, 29 October. Retrieved on 5 March 2008.
- GNPOC no date, 'Project overview', www.gnpoc.com. Retrieved on 6 March 2008.
- European Coalition on Oil in Sudan 2007, 'ECOS Fact Sheet', www.ecosonline.org, October, p. 6. Retrieved on 6 March 2007.