Home | News    Friday 22 June 2012

S. Sudan minister warns of environmental risks in pipeline project

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By Julius N. Uma

June 21, 2012 (JUBA) - As South Sudan prepares for commencement of the long-awaited construction of a pipeline for its crude oil, its deputy minister for petroleum and mining on Thursday warned of the environmental and social dangers involved, if affected areas are do not have the proper impact assessments.

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Deputy minister for petroleum, and mining, Elizabeth James Bol at the launch of the South Sudan Law Society report, June 21, 2012 (ST)

Elizabeth James Bol’s remarks were in response to recent reports that Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a leading Japanese company which recently completed a feasibility study, was merely awaiting the government’s signing of a contract before beginning construction.

“Now we have areas with crude oil. [But] If we don’t conduct assessments, especially environmental and social impact assessments, in these communities, we are going to experience many conflicts as a result of the pipeline construction,” she told participants attending a workshop in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Oil revenues, prior to the shut down early this year, accounted for nearly 98 percent of South Sudan’s annual budget. The country took with it nearly 75 percent of oil resources when it seceded from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.

According to the deputy minister, the pipeline project, involving Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti will require various stages, before actual construction work begins.

This includes "drafting an agreement and discussions between South Sudan and the three countries involved,” she noted, adding that similar studies are to be done with Ethiopia and Djibouti.

There will also be the legal procedural phase, which involves the signing of inter-governmental agreements with the three countries before the actual commencement of the pipeline construction.

“Once we sign these agreement, we shall have included all the required legal obligations that can avoid conflict outbreak and mass displacement of the population,” she assured.

A recent report on community engagement in land agreements warns of potential threats and conflict that could result in South Sudan with the rapid expansion expected in the oil, mining and gas sectors in the world newest nation.

Lack of community involvement in investment decision-making, the report says, could give rise to investment agreements that threaten to impoverish, rather than empower, the host communities.

“This can spur conflict and undermine peace-building efforts. In certain circumstances, it may also constitute a violation of international human rights law,” partly reads the report released by South Sudan Law Society (SSLS).

Bol, who officially launched the report, emphasised the importance of “responsible” investment, which she described as a tool for sustainable development.

“For any responsible investment, we expect a company or investors to fulfill the legal obligations in place, including respecting the human rights of the communities in South Sudan through local consultations
with them,” she said.

Although South Sudan still lacks the necessary legislation such as the Petroleum and Mining Bill, the deputy minister expressed optimism that these laws will soon be in place, and every investor or company with stakes in the South Sudan will have to abide with these legal obligations, including the 2009 Land Act.

She called for strong community financial management systems, widely seen as basic structures and procedures that are necessary for transparent and accountable administrative transactions on land-related issues within the various communities in South Sudan.

David Deng, author of the detailed report also warned of the dire consequences of not consulting communities, prior to any investment decision, citing “increased poverty, hunger, and violent conflict.”

Any successful investment, he noted, lies in strong relationships between companies, host communities, and government institutions. Meanwhile, Dong Samuel Luak, an official from SSLS largely blamed politicians for inciting many of the land-related conflicts in South Sudan, rather than contributing to widespread dissemination of the Land Act.

“No matter how much power the current leadership may wield, they have to keep in mind that people will fight for their future rights to land ownership in the country,” Luak said.

(ST)

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  • 22 June 2012 07:12, by Dut Monybor

    Let ’s be quick for doing this preparation for oil crude pipeline .As you see south Sudan is now on financial problem because of shutdown of oil pipeline.

    Don’t make an agreement with Kenya because they have plan to steal our oil .The Kenya Government said that they have discover oil in Turkana area and that is the place where our pine line is to pass on.

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    • 22 June 2012 09:00, by Robot

      What is wrong with this woman?, anyway i understand what is happening here madam, if you have differences with your minister then don’t fool South Sudanese by acting like you are there as statue in the ministry. your desperation will not spill and create havoc to us, let them remain with you else come forward boldly and explain to South Sudanese what is suppose to be done, where does land comes in

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      • 22 June 2012 09:06, by zulu

        this stupid woman is an arab whore.

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        • 22 June 2012 11:44, by okucu pa lotinokwan

          Zulu, Some of our ministers are failing in making work plan,than saying nonsense on air,how come there will be enviromental risk in the pipeline construction,than tell the communities that,the affected areas will relocated and compansated,please Mrs Minister try to correct this statement of yours,otherwise you are encouraging the local community on this.

          OKUCU PA LOTINOKWAN

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  • 22 June 2012 07:36, by Gäär

    Madam Minister,
    Its your responsibility at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining to ensure that the company (Toyota Tsusho)strictly follows environmental guidelines and principles. dont just complain or act like you have ’someone above’ you who dictates the policies. you and the minister in charge are the sole representatives of the pipeline project. there should also be people from your ministry..

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  • 22 June 2012 07:40, by Gäär

    ....that works closely with that company. this is a huge project and it can employ many South Sudanese graduates who currently have no jobs and creates havoc in Juba. Toyota has the tech and know how, they should control the engineering commissioning. but all the jobs falling under that should be given to those helpless South Sudanese.

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  • 22 June 2012 07:56, by Madina Tonj

    First of all, don’t rush in to create some bad Ideas which will lead communities to conflict. Oil is always a Federal issue and State also has the rights to share small percent but please, don’t create bad Ideas so that, our communities will fight each other. Yes, environmental protection is very important as well as citizens portection but there is a way to talk about the people’s concern

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    • 22 June 2012 09:04, by Thorbanat

      Actually the visibility study should have include Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)to ascertain what the deputy minister is talking about. The ministry of petroleum and mining should have EIA department since South Sudan has no NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION/ AUTHORITY (NEMC OR NEMA).

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  • 22 June 2012 10:20, by Bentiu CAPTAIN

    What a nonsense this woman is talking about. Does this woman know diameter of standard crude oil pipe line? Taking a pipe line through an area is not like taking a road. This woman need to be taught some ENGINEERING or there is something wrong within her ministry. In BENTIU a pipe line from Panthou(HEGLIG)is Just 50 metre from my HOME and there is nothing wrong with that.she is opposing pipeline

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  • 22 June 2012 10:49, by MKee

    Amazing!! this is 25% of women portion of government. In stead of asking public questions how feasible the propect is, she should be advising that these are the problems and this is how we are addressing them. where on earth should a ministry or gov sign off on project without knowiing what is involved in it. who is to be blamed later, is it the company that was granted a go ahead or a ministry...

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  • 22 June 2012 11:00, by MKee

    ...that failed to balance disadvantages & advantages of a project.
    Open your eyes south, otherwise your resources will be of no benefit to you or your common citizens.
    Does this ministery have Engineers or is it just the politicians who are looking for something to grab!! I Assessment of the route need not to be done by so the called Japanese company alone, but in conjunction with SS Engineers.

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  • 22 June 2012 13:14, by Marolditapei

    South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission or SSAC was purposely erected to advance the means of stealing. SSAC was erected to cover up corrupt lords and to keep them in positions of power. If the president does not name all the 73 corrupt workers within a month or less, then SSAC exists for no other reasons rather than to advance corruption. SSAC is an ENGINE of corruption itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 22 June 2012 19:00, by panom lualbil

    Please MISS MINISTER, let the hell [pipeline] prevail. We

    were so tired of not hearing it commercing. Since the loans

    received to it would might be on another WRONG HANDS like

    such $60 embezzled so far. There will be no conflicts [you

    prodict] I promised.

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  • 23 June 2012 04:29, by Dan Samuel

    This is a valid argument that we come across on a daily basis here in US, especially with projects that run through mutilate regions and affects the lives of people and wildlife alike, highways, pipelines and railroads to mention a few. This pipeline is a 24 months project under strict project management. I hope to see an adequate feasibility study that takes into consideration the welfare of all.

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