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Lawyers worried about oil spill

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: Monday, August 19, 2019

Oil spill at El Torr oil field in Ruweng State that is causing environmental damages on May 30, 2019 | Credit | Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

A group of lawyers has said it is concerned about the extent of pollution in the oil-producing states.

According to the Petroleum Act 2012, oil production activities should be done in a manner that ensures a high level of health and safety is achieved.

It also says this must be maintained and further developed in accordance with technological developments, best international practice and applicable law on health, safety and labor.

However, both international and local campaign groups say oil companies have continued to disregard these polices.

They say this has led to pollution of the environment, which has had adverse effect on both people and animals.

A report by a German organization, Sign of Hope, suggests more than 180, 0000 South Sudanese people who live near oil fields use water that is contaminated by the oil companies.

As a result, it says women are giving birth to deformed babies – some without limbs, others without organs like eyes.

One such a baby is currently being observed by doctors at a hospital in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

“Basically, the drilling that is ongoing in those areas is the big concern, because the interest of the community…is not being put into consideration,” said Philip Anyang, secretary-general for Center for Human Rights Lawyers.

“If these oil companies don’t take responsibility to protect the environment, protect the community and ensure that the standard environmental practice is safeguarded, then we will be compelled to drag them to court.”

Oil production is now dominated by three joint ventures between Nilepet and Chinese National Petroleum Company, Petronas of Malaysia and the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

According to the ministry of petroleum, South Sudan produces 175,000 barrels per day.

At the current oil prices, the government gets $5.5 million per day or more than $165 million per month.

The Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2013 stipulates that the oil-producing states will receive 2% from the net petroleum revenue to be allocate to benefit the state development programs approved by the state legislative assembly.

It also states that the local communities in the oil-producing states will receive 3% from the net petroleum revenue – with 55% going to oil-producing counties and 45% to non-oil producing counties in the state.

However, representatives of the communities in those ares say they have never received any of the benefits.

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