The ministry of petroleum has awarded the contract to three companies to carry out the environmental audit in the oil-producing areas of Upper Nile, Unity states, and Ruweng administrative area to determine the level of environmental pollution in the areas.
The three companies are to come up with recommendations that will allow the authorities to address the negative impact on the oil-producing areas
The companies contracted by the government to audit each oil company include Cowi AS Norway and Bridge Consultant to audit DPOC, Envag Associates (Kenyan company) to audit GPOC, and Panloy (SGS) Company limited to audit SPOC.
The companies were selected based on their technical capacity and experience and are expected to finish auditing and produce the final report in 90 days which starts on the 17th of September 2022
The minister of petroleum Hon. Puot Kang Chol urged the selected companies to be independent and do the work as required by the law and to the international standard.
“You must have ethics because a lot of envelopes will be flying but if we have evidence tomorrow, your name will be heard internationally”.
He said they will not hesitate to report to the world any of the companies that will compromise the work. “Let me hope that you will put the lives of the people of South Sudan at the center of your work” Said Puot Kang Chol, the minister of petroleum.
The Undersecretary of the petroleum ministry Mayen Wol said the government could not address the problems faced by the host communities of the oil field due to a lack of auditing and this will be the first time that the government of South Sudan is carrying out the activity.
He emphasized that the companies should give credible recommendations that will allow them to mitigate the crisis.
“Give us very good recommendations that we will use to mitigate what has been done in our area,” said Mayen Wol
He said they hope the outcome of the oil audit will help the government understand any problem that needs to be addressed and the recommendation will help the government take appropriate measures to mitigate them.
“Once we have recommendations after three months, immediately we will start implementing the recommendations such that the situation and the environment of our people are safe in oil-producing areas,” Mayen said
According to environmentalist Joseph Africano, the undersecretary of the ministry of the environment; oil companies are supposed to carry out auditing annually but they have requested this since 2011 but government fail to grant the request.
“The oil companies are supposed to conduct environmental auditing annually so that we know exactly what is happening in the operation, not only to the environment but eagerly around all operation such as safety and all that we need”, said Africano
He said transparency in the work of the oil industry is very important and they have been requesting for environmental audit since 2011 and 2016 but nothing was done.
“We are happy as the ministry of environment that today we are awarding contract to companies to conduct the auditing.” he stressed.
Environmentalists said South Sudan continue to experience environmental damage, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around the oil-producing areas of which the South Sudan government hope it will address in the recommendations of the oil audit finding.