Greater Pioneer Operating Company, which runs the Unity Oil Fields in Rubkona County, says it is working with the government to identify a new location for the people living near the oil production facilities.
According to the company the relocation could take place during the next dry season, which already begins in December.
There are a number of factors why people should not live near to the oil production facilities.”
Beny Ngor Chol, a field manager at Greater Pioneer Operating Company, says the company is concerned about the health of people living near oil producing facilities. There are a number of factors why people should not live near to the oil production facilities,” Chol stresses.
Our safety department alongside with our community development department are working hand in hand with local authorities and the government to make sure we educate the population” about the need to be relocated, Chol adds.
The Unity State Secretary General, Franco Duoth Diu, says the government supports the decision to relocate communities from areas near oil production facilities. It is another way of preventing them [the residents] to be affected by the chemicals which are used for the operation [oil extraction] by the companies,” Diu adds.
John Chieng Machar is a resident of one of the areas affected by oil extraction. He says it is the responsibility of the national and state
governments to ensure people live in a safe environment.
They should give those relocated services like electricity and water.”
Machar adds oil companies should meet the demands of people living near oil producing areas before forcing them out. They [oil companies] must construct roads and extend services either through constructing local tukuls or advanced buildings depending on the availability of resources.”
They should give those relocated services like electricity and water so that people enjoy the taste of oil in the area,” says Machar.
Angelina Nyagai Bath, another resident living near the Unity Oil Fields, says the local community has not benefited from the oil extracted in the area. It would have been good for the company to build better schools, hospitals, provide clean water and good roads before displacing people.”
These oil companies have a lot of disadvantages on peoples’ lives as the chemicals they use are always dangerous for our fertility and many other things and we have never seen any good done by them,” she adds.
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Beny Ngor Chol says his company will reimburse the community for losses that result from the relocation. There are plans in place that if you are somehow affected by that plan then there might be measures or modalities to make sure that you are compensated.”
However, Greater Pioneer Operating Company has not yet specified how much it will pay as compensation to the people affected.
South Sudan hosts the third largest crude reserves in sub-Saharan Africa after Angola and Nigeria. South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July 2011 ending a two-decade civil war but it has to rely on pipelines and ports that straddle Sudan to export its crude.
Oil fields in Unity State produce around 30% of the crude, according to South Sudan Minister for Petroleum and Mining, Stephen Dieu Dau. The bulk of oil production continues to be pumped from Upper Nile State, near the eastern border with Ethiopia.