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Unnoticed tension between Chinese oil companies and Petroleum Minister is escalating

By Ngor Jameson Panchol,

May 29, 2021 – The Minister of Petroleum Hon. Puot Kang Chuol early this year ordered all oil companies to allow the environmental audit and transparent vetting process during the award of contracts and also the implementation of the Human Resource Manual.

Unnoticed tension between Chinese oil companies and Petroleum Minister is escalating
Puot Kang Chuol, Minister of Petroleum at a press conference in Juba earlier this year (photo credit: Nyamilepedia/Supplied

This displeased some of the oil companies operating in the country, especially the Chinese ones. In accordance with the R-ARCSS on petroleum, article 4-8-1-14-15 clearly state that companies should ensure efficient production and environmentally friendly extraction of natural resources, development of oil-producing areas, capacity building, and local content strategy, fairness in employment in the medium and long-term indigenization of the workforce.

Environmental Audit    

Let me briefly explain what it means for the term environmental audit. Environmental audit is the process of ensuring that all operating oil companies both international and local companies respect the laws on environmental safety and well-being of the people.

If any oil company is found guilty of compromising the safety of the population and the entire environment surrounding the oil-producing areas, then that particular company will be liable for it and face the consequences for mismanagement of oil waste products.

However, it’s a known case that most of the oil wells in the oil-producing areas are not treated and wells are left open, which is hazardous to aquatic lives, animals, insects, plants, human beings, and entirely the environment. There are many reports regarding oil defects on newly born babies in the oil-producing areas in Upper Nile and Unity states respectively.

Astonishingly, the Chinese are disparaging the process and disinclined to implement the request by the Hon. Puot Kang Chuol. The government of the People’s Republic of China responded by summoning the South Sudan Ambassador to China to explain why the minister is so hard on the environmental audit and human resource manual rather than to cooperate and allow auditors to commence with their task, and R-TGoNU when muted without response.

The government of the People’s Republic of China responded with provocations by summoning the South Sudan ambassador to China to explain why the minister is so hard on the environmental audit and human resource manual rather than to cooperate and allow auditors to take up their role, yet the R-TGoNU went mute.

On Human Resource Manual

This is to close the gap between the foreigners and nationals working with oil companies to have decent payments, allowances, and medical insurance of international standards. With this policy, those South Sudanese at the low grade working with oil companies will earn at least $3000 monthly apart from allowances and medical cover, which will enhance their standard of living and managing their own bills.

Currently, the Chinese and Malaysians are highly paid with not less than $25000 monthly apart of other benefits. Meanwhile, the R-ARCSS as the supreme law of the country clearly states on article 4-8-1-4 that the current employment in the oil sector shall be reviewed and given that employment in this sector has not been based on merit and competence, but largely on ethnic, political, and regional considerations. Of course, much of such favoritism is engineered by government officials and condoned by these oil companies.

On transparency and accountability

Article 4.8.1.5 of the R-ARCSS reviews, vets and takes corrective measures against all contracts terminated and new contracts awarded through an open public tender process by the Ministry of Petroleum in accordance with guidelines set by law and other vital note in the agreement.

Article 4.8.1.6 states priority in contracting Service Companies. It says contracts shall be given to qualified nationals of South Sudan. The companies awarded such contracts shall ensure that local communities are given priority in employment. But this has not been respected by the oil companies in conjunction with local companies, the Asians have and are still benefiting more than South Sudanese nationals.

Attempt to oust oil minister

A close source revealed sometimes back that the Chinese are working harder for the Minister of Petroleum Hon. Puot Kang Chuol to be removed and replaced with a person they can easily bribe in order to compromise the interest of the people. However, it has proven very hard for the Chinese and cartels to remove the minister because it’s the agreement that brought Puot Kang Chuol and this granted him immunity unless SPLM-IO has a concern.

With this intention to impede Environmental audit and Human Resource Manual by Chinese companies, the gov’t should open their eyes and halt lust for money as usual and cooperate with the minister for these noble projects to be implemented for the future benefits of South Sudanese.

I do agree with the minister’s orders because it’s beneficial to the people not individual interests and in that regard, I had effervescent in my own heart for this noble initiative because these deeds reflect the party-oriented cadre that understood the four basic documents of SPLM-IO.

With this, I congratulate Cde Puot Kang Chuol and encourage him to continue with that particular spirit of patriotism and consistency.

The author is a concerned citizen. He can be reached through social media


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