South Sudan oil pipeline leak affects wide area
09 October 2019
A report by VOA News from South Sudan quoting a local government official claimed an oil leak from a ruptured pipeline had had a serious impact on the surrounding population and environment.
Representative image: Shutterstock
Budang County commissioner Gatiep Both Gabriel said: “The leakage has stopped, but the impact is so big. It is drying trees, killing cattle, and poisoning people, and the water is falling into the Nile," Gabriel told South Sudan in Focus.
Gabriel said he feared people living along the River Nile, especially nearby villagers, were drinking contaminated water.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the oil pipeline broke on September 25, South Sudan petroleum minister Awow Daniel Chuang said the oil spill, 15 kilometres north of Lalubo in Northern Liech state, was contained after Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) dispatched foreign experts to the scene.
GPOC is an oil consortium owned by China's National Petroleum Corporation, Malaysia's Petronas, India's ONGC Videsh and South Sudan's government-run Nile Petroleum Corporation.
Chuang said as much as 2,000 barrels of oil could have leaked into the surrounding land and water since the pipeline burst.
But when asked about the spill's impact on residents, Chuang said the leakage took place in a remote area where there is no human settlement. This was disputed by County commissioner Gabriel.
Chuang said the spill covered about 400 square meters, but Gabriel said the affected area was much larger.
Chuang said some pipelines in the area have not been in use since late 2013 when fighting broke out in South Sudan and warned there could be more oil leaks on the horizon.
He said the ministry plans to contract a foreign company to carry out an environmental audit.