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The sad reality of the state of oil revenue’s ownership in South Sudan 


By Longar Mathiec Wol, Juba, South Sudan

Friday, July 31, 2020 (PW) — Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you briefly on state of oil revenue and ownership in our country. Based on evidence Ifound through brief research I carried out to find out how exactly is oil revenue being distributed between the oil operating companies and the government.

Shockingly, the results were unbelievable; to some of us having oil is a blessing, but we forgot to know that having oil as resource and having its revenue are two different things that we should know, it is indeed true that we have oil as resource, but not oil as revenue.

I pity Junubins when the fight over the oil revenue they don’t have. Sometimes we over complain of our oil revenue being misappropriated or misused, but the first thing we should have done is to complain of its ownership. Looking at the sad reality of the situation on the ground, you wander to whether there is enough to be misappropriated. 

In business, the term shares or shareholding signify ownership of that particular company or property. According to three major oil operating companies’ websites, the distribution and ownership of oil in South Sudan in term of shareholding is shown below. Let  look at it keenly them make our own observations and conclusions.

The data below shows the summary of over all oil’s revenue ownership in three major oil companies in South Sudan.

1. China National Petroleum company ownership in all oil companies: DPOC 41%; GNPOC 40% and Over all shareholding or ownership 81% shares. 

2. Petronas (Malaysia): DPOC 40%; GNPOC 30%; SPOC 67.8%, and Overall shareholding or ownership 137.8% shares.

3. ONGC Videsh (India): GNPOC 25%; SPOC 24.2%, and Over all shareholding or ownership 49.2% shares.

4. Nile pet (South Sudan): DPOC 8%; SPOC 8%, and Overall shareholding or ownership 16% shares, don’t forget it is the owner of the oil.

5. Sinopec (China): DPOC 6% and Overall ownership 6% shares.

6. Sudapet (Sudan): GNPOC 5% and The overall shareholding or ownership is 6% shares.

7. Tri-ocean Energy (Egypt): DPOC 5%; The overall ownership 5% shares, and Over all grand total of shares 300%.

That is the sad reality in our oil sector in South Sudan. If we don’t diagnose the problem from its source, we will continue with blame games, name calling and shouting at each other without results. I am not trying to exonerate in anyway the corrupt individuals that might have colluded with foreigners to exploit us.

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They might be there, but, if you think we own oil revenue as we have been thinking then think twice , we only own oil as resource, owning it revenue needs another liberation. That is the bitter truth that we don’t want to discuss, next time before you open your mouth on corruption in oil sector you need to also think on what should be a remedy to restore relative ownership over our oil. Oil revenue is being owned by the companies or countries of origin as mentioned above. 

What does that ownership means? It means that any important decisions concerning oil sector development or exploration in the country, the foreigners have upper hand or should be the ones to have a say or make those vital decisions on our behalf or on behalf of South Sudan. That means, the decisions that are likely to see the light are the ones that benefit or fulfill the interest of the owners in this case, the major shareholders.

The government of South Sudan in this case is a minor shareholder and is likely to have no say in important decisions; that means it will act like a regulatory authority or stakeholder not a shareholder in its own resource. We are reduced to being brokers or dealers in our own natural resource. Some few of us who in one way or the other benefited in our oil through deals are left in frisson in short time.  

Our resource have been looted broad day light, don’t think that it is oil sector alone; it is happening in all areas dealing with natural resources for instance, gold.

That explanation doesn’t only give sad state of our oil sector as it is being owned by foreigners. The rumors had it that there are certain areas or offices and particularly where the oil is being process at oil field to port Sudan that is based in Heglig. That place or office is being controlled 100% by foreigners and particularly majority are Chinese.

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It like a redline to them if you make it to that office and you are not in government delegation and make it back alive then you must be or had been a very luckiest human being living today.

Our own oil has become a curse to us, our vulnerable human resource is being exploited to the maximum with out protection from its government. The are paid below internationally accepted standard, no privileges like comprehensive insurance, faster rotation of the nationals working in oil field. The rotation is being delayed and the fact is that they should at least be rotated after ever one month or two to three months if it is long, due to pollution in oil field.

These nationals are left vulnerable without personal protective equipment as the foreigners continue to protect themselves from these hazards. That indicates, them working for long in oil fields without protection will lead to deterioration of their health condition, whether today or in the near future.

We have seen many case of babies being born without limbs or having other creatures characteristics, these are all signs of pollution. Though there are two laws suits in different international courts, still these companies are not willing or doing little to improve the state of pollution in oil field. 

As our nationals continue to risk their lives by working in unconducive environment to put food on the table, the payment has not been of any good. According to the information obtained on the ground, majority of South Sudanese are being paid so little, the luckiest ones are being paid USD 5000 while the average get as low as USD 1500.

That payment is not to international standard, the reason to why the oil field workers are highly paid is not because oil brings money as a common perception or majority of us might think or believe, but, because they operate in risky environment where death is like blink of an eyes apart from future effects.

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Everything is gone; our own oil being own by foreigners, our dignity being lost through pollution, to our own payment being determined by foreigners while our own government sits and watch how its citizens are being exploited. 

So sad, be the judge.

The author, Longar Mathiec Wol, is a Concern citizen who can be reached through email address:

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