South Sudan To Audit Oil-Field Pollution After Years of Conflict

(Bloomberg) --

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.

The government, which is still struggling to end a civil war, called for bids for the study on Thursday, President Salva Kiir’s administration said in an emailed statement. “Ahead of any new exploration and drilling, the government has committed to conducting an environmental audit,” it said.

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.

Oil-related pollution in the past was blamed for “a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas,” the government said.

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

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