Gov’t to combat negative impact of oil production

By Okan Thomas Onyango

The Minister of Petroleum has called for a collective work with the other ministries to combat the adverse environmental impacts of oil production in the country.

This was during the second launching of the Environmental Audit in all the oil fields in the country yesterday at the Ministry of Petroleum.

Speaking during the Press Conference, the Minister of Petroleum, Puot Kang Chol said that the second launching of the Environmental Audit (Environmental impacts assessments) should be a collective responsibility especially to the Ministry of Environment and Health as it will not only be of great impact to the people but to the world at large.

“We need to work together for the sake of our own people, environment and the land. The best reason is to make sure that we adhere to the international best practices and standards that are set to be followed. And we are making this a public matter because it is a public concern. You all know that internationally, we are condemned. Why should we be happy to go to international courts while we have the opportunity to do what is needed internationally,” Kang said.    

Kang stated that the government through the Ministry of Petroleum formed a committee on the 16th of June 2020 which comprises of all the government agencies concerned. The Ministry of Environment, Health, Petroleum Commission and civil society organizations who will speak on behalf of the civil population.

The minister announced the full Environmental Audit in all the oil fields in the country. The audit will cover the current producing oil fields of block 3 and 7, 1, 2 and 4 and block 5A. The audit exercise is expected to reveal any environmental damages that might have been caused by the oil activities since the early nineties.          

“The actual work of the audit will start after its finalization and by April we will have the companies conducting their works. It will save the lives of our people, and the environment. This oil can deplete tomorrow but our land should not disappear, the first and the most important is the lives of our people, let us not give them any reason to feel that oil is a curse to them. Therefore, we must save their lives and the environment too,” Kang stressed.

This week, the government reached a deal with Sudan to double production in the oil fields in the country. The technical committee from the petroleum ministries of both countries joined in meetings in Juba to discuss ways of cooperation that would serve the interest of the people of the two counties.

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