The government of the Republic of South Sudan has announced a tender for a comprehensive environmental audit of all the country’s producing oilfields. 

Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum in a statement said, the tender pre-qualification documents will be available between 13 and 20 January 2020 at the Ministry of Petroleum’s headquarters in Juba during the office hours as well as from its website

An international independent organization will be appointed to conduct the audit, mandated to suggest best practices for new exploration as well as ways to repair the historical damage in South Sudan.

The East African country blamed its environmental woes to civil war, stating that it prevented proper management of the environment, based on environmentally, socially and economically sustainable principles.

A year after its independence, South Sudan enacted its Petroleum Act to govern its oil sector. The Act was designed to better manage the environmental impact of the sector after years of neglect prior to independence, and the resulting pollution.

The country is presently faced with the challenge of balancing developmental needs with the spirit of environmental protection enshrined in the Petroleum Act. 

The sector has in the past caused a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas.

President SalvaKiir of South Sudan in a report “Sudan First State of Environment and Outlook Report in 2018” explained the country’s desire to become the breadbasket and economic powerhouse of East-Central Africa.

SalvaKiir said, “Lack of environmental standards and guidelines to safeguard the exploration and exploitation in the extractive industry has led to pollution in the oilfields and in the surrounding areas.

“This trend needs to be checked through the formulation of environmental policies, standards and guidelines, and enforcement of these instruments.”

President had in 2019 warned that his government would be taking a stronger stance against pollution in oil-producing areas. He said that while the government was eager to welcome new exploration and production, companies would be held to a high standard. The era of “bad business” was coming to an end.

He warned, “I will not tolerate irresponsible activities in the oil sector.”

The Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang said the country was committed to conducting environmental audit ahead of any new exploration and drilling in the country, adding that understanding the pollution damage will allow the country to put systems in place to prevent further damage as the country looks to ramp up production. 

Peace Obi

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