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Sudanese Ministry of Energy to improve conditions at oil fields

December 27 - 2019 BALILA
Hamid Suliman, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining (alhadath.alsudani)
Hamid Suliman, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining (alhadath.alsudani)

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining is currently visiting oil production fields in West Kordofan and East Darfur, as part of a campaign to enhance the situation in the area.

Hamid Suliman, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining, told reporters at the Balila oil field in El Salam locality, West Kordofan, on Thursday that a team of the ministry studied all the requirements for improving the situation in the areas near the oil fields.

The improvements needed can be divided into three main subjects: The protection of the environment and provision of safety, development and better services and roads, and increased employment opportunities.

Suliman, who was appointed on September 29 after his predecessor affiliated with the regime of Al Bashir was dismissed is paying a three-day visit to the area.

He will hold meetings with various stakeholders, including youth and native administration leaders to clarify the vision and plans of the ministry for the coming period.

West Kordofan is considered Sudan’s number one oil state as it includes most of the country’s producing oil fields such as Heglig, Difra, Kanar, Balila, Neem, and El Barasaya.

The main oil fields in East Darfur consist of Zarga Um Hadid, Jid El Sayed, and Abu Sufyan.

Complaints

Environmental experts and MPs have pointed more than once to health hazards threatening the people who are living close to the oil fields.

In December 2015, members of the Sudanese parliament discussed the decreasing fertility among women living in West Kordofan’s Balila and Moga.

A year later, MPs from West Kordofan again complained about the spread of diseases among pregnant women and children in the state, allegedly caused by industrial chemicals and petroleum residues.

On October 30, Radio Dabanga reported that water and oil leaking from an oil well in West Kordofan contaminated an area of two square kilometres.

Injustice

In addition, many people in West Kordofan and East Darfur complain they have not received any compensation for the farmlands and pastures confiscated by the government for the benefit of the oil companies.

The companies themselves also do not contribute to the development and increased employment opportunities in the oil-rich areas.

In March 2014, three people were killed and 16 others wounded by security guards at the  Balila oil field in West Kordofan. The violence was triggered by a large crowd of Misseriya tribesmen who had gathered inside the premises of the Chinese BGP petroleum company at Balila to apply for a job.

The BGP management had announced that 100 out of more than 400 jobs would be allocated to people living in the area. When the Misseriya the job seekers understood that most of the jobs had been given to the chief administrator’s relatives, the situation exploded, and the guards began shooting at the crowd.

 


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