China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) has been producing oil and natural gas in Sudan since 1996, and invested $5 billion in the country during the decade that followed. The company dominates oil exploration both in Sudan and the new state of South Sudan, which only gained independence in July 2011. CNPC briefly stopped operations last August over a dispute between Sudan and South Sudan over access to their shared linking pipeline. South Sudan eventually agreed to pay $9.46 per barrel in order to use Sudan’s pipeline and port facilities. The two African nations host CNPC’s largest foreign operation that produces 250,000 barrels of oil every day and forms the lion’s share of revenue for South Sudan. China is reaping the rewards of becoming Sudan’s main trading partner after the U.S. introduced an embargo in 1997 in response to the East African nation’s shocking human-rights record. In 2012, Sudan also allowed China to set up a free-trade zone in the country for agricultural products and livestock.
Cost: $5 billion