By Ruot George
Oil companies operating in South Sudan will not be immune to prosecution if an environmental audit implicates them in contributing to environmental pollution, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Joseph Africano Bartel, said.
Consortiums exploiting crude oil in South Sudan include Dar Petroleum operating companies (DPOC), Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) and Sudd Petroleum Operating Company.
An environmental audit was launched last year following complains that the exploitation wasn’t being undertaken in accordance with international standards of environmental protection.
“Oil companies in South Sudan are not immune from prosecution if we prove they have destroyed the environment even after they leave operations,” Bartel told journalists in a press conference in Juba while marking World Wetland Day.
The audit, the first of its kind is meant to gauge the level of environmental devastation as a result of years of exploitation.
Oil companies operating in South Sudan are reportedly having the worst environmental protection methods.
According to Bartel, the companies are hesitant on complying with government directives on environmental protection.
Bartel also urged other government agencies to ensure the country is protected from pollution.
“We have drafted environmental bill but it’s in the Ministry of Justice, we are pushing,” he said.