Social and Environmental Context of Extractive Industries in South Sudan

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Social impacts

The negative social impacts of oil industry activity in South Sudan are well-documented, especially in Block 5A in north-central South Sudan, where a consortium led by Lundin Petroleum was engaged in exploration and development of fields between 1997 and 2003. The start of oil exploration set off a violent conflict in the area, according to the European Commission on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) in what was essentially a military campaign by the Sudanese government to secure and take control of the oil fields in Block 5A.[1]

Main article: Lundin Operations in South Sudan

Social impacts of oil production shut-down

Main article: Oil Production Shutdown of 2012

Environmental impacts

A 2007 study by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on South Sudan, which was then the southern part of the country of Sudan, found that effects of oil exploration and extraction in the region included disruption of water flow patterns as a result of seismic testing and diking; wetland and floodplain fragmentation due to access roads and oil exploration sites; and contamination due to oil spills and contamination with human wastes.[2]

The study highlighted the Sudd wetlands in north-central South Sudan as a particularly vulnerable ecosystem to oil development, stating that "income generation opportunities can result in increased population in this fragile area... Roads and other infrastructure can irreversibly change the character of the Sudd."[2]


  1. "The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Block 5A, Sudan 1997 - 2003, ECOS, June 2010.