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South Sudan Seeks Expert To Asses Damage From Oil Leaks

South Sudan plans to conduct an environmental audit of its oil fields to determine the extent of pollution following years of conflict, during which production was largely unregulated.

“South Sudan now faces the challenge of balancing developmental needs with the spirit of environmental protection enshrined in the Petroleum Act,” the petroleum Ministry said in a bid invite notice in which it is seeking a consultant to study the worrisome situation.

The country has seen a surge in oil leaks from poorly maintained pipelines which has affected communities in Northern oil corridor

“Ahead of any new exploration and drilling, the government has committed to conducting an environmental audit,” the notice reads in part.

“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.”

In August 2019, President Salva Kiir warned that his government would be taking a stronger stance against pollution in oil-producing areas.

The nation producing 200,000 barrels a day wants to increase output past the 350,000 barrels it pumped daily before the war broke out in 2013, and fund its recovery. That could be slowed by concerns of pollution suspected to be linked to the increasing number of infants born with deformities in crude-producing regions.

“South Sudan is now faced with the challenge of balancing developmental needs with the spirit of environmental protection,” according to the statement.

Environment experts have blamed oil-related pollution for “a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas.”

Pre-qualification documents for the audit must be submitted by Jan. 20.