South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum has contracted three companies to carry out a comprehensive environmental audit in the oil fields. An environmental audit refers to assessment or evaluation of nature and extent of harm to the environment caused by company’s operations or it simply means an attempt to provide environmental performance of a company.
Section 32 of the Draft Environment Protection Bill, 2010 Chapter 7 intends to introduce the requirement for Environmental Audits. An environmental Audit, according to this Bill, is defined as the systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of how well the environmental organization, management and equipment are performing in conserving the environment and its resources.
The award of environmental audit contracts to Panloy, Envage Associates, and SGS Company Limited is a great news and long overdue as communities living around the oil producing fields have been complaining of environmental pollution which poses healthy risks to the people and livestock. The Ministry of Petroleum has asked the three contracted companies to complete a deliverable work within the ninety (90) days from the commencement of their work. Hon. Puot Kang Chol, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum announced to the media on Friday, 16th September 2022 that Panloy, Envage Associates, and SGS Company Limited are awarded the contracts after winning bidding procedures. “We have come to the end of phase one, it has been a very long journey and there has been a lot of up and down in the process,” said Kang.
“We told them to do technical proposal and commercial bid number from 1 to 6 and those were the companies that turned into getting the proposals,” Kang noted. Whatever you have done is what we are taking, in that process some companies felt even if they do not pass because they have already started making connections, they should be made number one but there are criteria set,’ added Kang. He further stated that Ministry of Petroleum started environmental audit by developing scope of work which represents the first step because work cannot start if auditors don’t know what they can achieve out of it. The petroleum minister stressed that he had to change the committee for the project to be championed by everybody, and it is a right thing to do as it is about the life of the South Sudanese people. “These are institutions that took up the process in ministerial order that was re-appointed, committee for transparency includes the committee from the Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Environment, National Petroleum and Gas Commission, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Civil Society, and National Security,” he hinted.
Kang further explained that “The shortlisted companies were invited for the tender in which eleven (11) companies are to submit their offers, the submission was requested into proposal, technical proposal where the companies were requested to show their technical capabilities and the commercial proposal where they were given the quotation for their institution for doing their work and that will show what you do, your experience and what you have done elsewhere and how much do you want to do the work”.
Last year, South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum launched the opening bid round for comprehensive environmental audit tender, & the launch included a presentation on the value of the environmental audit for the country’s revitalized oil sector & the associated measures being undertaken by the Ministry toadvance the oil sector. “When we talked about environmental auditing, it is not like other audits. We are dealing with the life of our people, and then we must be careful,” said Kang during launching of tender for oil contract to audit the environment in the country. “When the report does come out, whichever company we select must ensure that the report is based on facts,” Kang explained. “We will make the report public and provide details as to why we selected the specific company in order to be transparent.” The six private companies that were selected for tender contract competition include EnvageAssociate (K) Limited, Bright Heritage company limited, CSI International (Bomatex Limited), Panloy, Cowi, and Norway Optimum Engineering company. The evaluation offers was audited by the audit committee and chose the best offers.
Hon. Puot Kang Chol stated that they did not give two oil fields to one firm but each firm was given one oil field. Three oil fields that will be audited included those operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC), Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC), and Sudd Petroleum Operating Company(SPOC). “For the proper monitoring and execution of the audit exercise, the Ministry of Petroleum engaged a consultant, APL company which provided experts to make sure the tasked companies carry out the audit following International best practices and that they comply with the scope of work,” Hon.Puot Kang stated.