UK-based Company to Audit Oil Firms
Petroleum Minister before the TNLA on 17th 04 2018 (Photo by Morris Dogga):
By Morris Dogga
Petroleum Minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said on Tuesday that the government was in talks with a UK-based company Alex Stewart to audit the oil companies operating in the country.
“The team from Alex Stewart Company will be arriving in the country next week to start the audit. They will also guide the ministry on issues to do with oil,” he told members of the Transitional Parliament.
The minister was summoned by the Transitional National Legislative Assembly after reports of devastating pollution caused by the crude oil in the northern part of the country.
Members of Parliament wanted to know what measures the Ministry had taken against the oil companies for neglecting the agreements they had signed for protection of the environment.
MPs also questioned whether the ministry had a specialized committee that was monitoring the impact of oil on the environment.
Minister Lol said the UK-based company would audit the oil companies and the environment. He added that the oil companies had already agreed to pay the auditors.
In June last year, the Ministry of Petroleum invited companies to bid on public tender to audit the national oil production and other activities of the petroleum industry.
The auditing company was expected to produce a 2017 industry audit report.
The ministry said that the aim of the audit was to complete an accurate assessment of the oil, condensate, natural gas reserves and production; report on revenue and investment flows, make recommendation on the technical, fiscal and regulatory issues faced by the petroleum industry.
The minister said the country currently produces about 133, 000 barrels per day in the three functioning blocks. Some wells were closed due to the political crisis.
South Sudan’s current oil reserves stand at 3.5 billion dollars. Only 30 percent had been explored according to the minister.
Lol said oil production would resume in some blocks across the country.
The minister also revealed that his ministry planned to drill 72 wells by June this year to increase the production of oil in the country.
The oil funds almost 90 percent of the government’s expenditure. It is the major source of the country’s revenue.
Just two years after seceding from Sudan, the country descended into an armed conflict. The fighting has seriously affected the oil production. Some oil fields were either closed or destroyed.