Authorities in South Sudan’s highest oil producing state of Ruweng, home to the country’s main fields say a pipeline raptured Sunday, spilling considerable amounts of crude over a large swath in a grazing community.
The rapture, which is the forth in a period of six months, worsens the already bad situation as this region struggles to deal with the damage cause by similar serial oil leaks.
“What happened on Sunday is the oil leakage in Toma south known as Kaluch in Alien County of Ruweng state ….,” Ruweng state minister of information Abraham Ngor told a local radio. Adding that the environment has been contaminated and polluted.
South Sudanese Petroleum Minister warned in October, 2019 that they expect oil leaks north of the country from poorly maintained facilities, after a pipeline, managed by a consortium of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and local oil companies leaked 2,000 barrels of oil in the north.
“Of course we know that the production has been down for the last five years and the pipeline was empty and probably was filled with water (that) can expedite the process of corrosion within the pipeline, … that is why we will all suspect that ruptures will happen from time to time…”Petroleum Minister Awou Daniel Chuang said.
Activists have long warned of the consequences to residents and the environment from oil spills in the area, where facilities have been battered by war and some lay dormant for years until a peace deal was signed in 2018.
While South Sudan oil ministry says its investigating the effect of the leaks, a 2014 study by Cordaid reported that Oil production pollutants are suspected by communities to have caused many new health problems.
German NGO Sign of Hope, which has investigated the impact of oil pollution in the country, estimates as many as 600,000 people may be affected.