Impact assessment of the environmental protection policies in the upstream oil industry in Nigeria
Bayagbon, Anthony Mamurhomu
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The need for energy and the associated economic benefits from the oil and gas deposits found mainly in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria necessitated the exploration and exploitation activities being carried out by the oil and gas Companies. However, these exploration and exploitation activities due to their unpredictable nature have a huge potential for environmental pollution as been experienced in the form of oil spills, gas flaring, irresponsible disposal of waste and several other activities that have resulted in the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta region. In the light of these, the Federal Government of Nigeria having experienced the consequences of pollution of the environment during the Koko Toxic Waste Dump incident in the then Bendel State in 1987 established a regulatory body tasked with the responsibility of harmonizing the economic interest from the oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities with the sustainability of the natural environment by developing well structured and articulated policies aimed at guiding the operations of the oil and gas operators, track their compliance and administer appropriate punitive measures for non compliance. However, this research work which is aimed at evaluating the impact of the environmental protection policies in upstream oil and gas activities in the Niger Delta region, involved the use of questionnaires and interviews. These questionnaires were completed by the management and staff of three major oil and gas companies operating within the area, the Department of Petroleum Resources and members of the Host communities. The interview was carried out to provide relevant feedback on their assessment of the impact made by the environmental protection policies on the upstream oil and gas activities in their operational areas/host communities. The study however concluded that “Although there is a regulatory body tasked with the responsibility to develop, implement and track compliance of the environmental protection policies in the upstream oil industry, the body is ineffective and as such the impact of the environmental protection policies is inadequate. Appropriate informed recommendations on the improvement strategies to the identified gaps that resulted in the unfavorable conditions were also provided.
- Engineering