|Publisher||Society of Petroleum Engineers||Language||English|
|Content Type||Conference Paper|
|Title||Environmental Impact Assessment and the Nigerian Oil Industry: A Review of Experiences and Learnings|
|Authors||G.U. Agha, D.O. Irrechukwu, M.M. Zagi, Department of Petroleum Resources, Lagos, Nigeria|
SPE International Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, 20-22 March 2002, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|Copyright||Copyright 2002, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.|
Since the issuance of Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in 1991, over 200 pre-development Environmental Impact Assessment and post-development Environmental Evaluation Studies have been carried out by Oil and Gas Operators. This is in compliance with the relevant part of the Environmental Guidelines and Standards and other legal/administrative framework governing EIA in Nigeria. Thus, EIA has become a standard practice in environmental and project planning on some major exploration and project development activities. However, our experiences in Nigeria suggest that not much is achieved in terms of environmental management despite the increase in the number of EIA studies being carried out. The reason for this is not far fetched since it is universally accepted that EIA as a planning tool is saddled with so many weak points. Some of the major weak points associated with EIA in Nigeria include the sparsity of baseline information against which the environmental impacts are measured; lack of budgetary allocations from the operators to implement mitigative measures and monitoring plans; lack of human resources and political commitment to enforce the environmental management plan amongst others. Consequently, oil operators carried out EIA in Nigeria to a larger extent, to satisfy regulatory requirements for the obtention of environmental permits. It is against this backdrop that the process of EIA of E&P activities have been reviewed with a view to blocking some of the weak points thereby making the EIA process a worthwhile affair. Measures are now being put in place to ensure the implementation of the EIA findings throughout the project cycle including planning, design, construction, testing, operation and post operational phases. it is therefore, the aim of this paper to discuss the past and present approaches to EIA processes of E&P activities in Nigeria.
Despite the long period of oil and gas activities in Nigeria, which started since 1908, it was not until 1991 that environmental considerations, through the conduct of EIA, become part of the basis for decision making on acceptability and sustainability of new projects in the Petroleum Industry. This was as a result of the issuance of Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria, by DPR in which was provided for the first time, details of the process and procedure of EIA by the Government in Nigeria. Prior to 1991 less than ten environmental studies reports including two pre-project environmental impacts assessment and five post-impact assessment reports as a result of oil spill and blow out incidents were carried out. By 1991, however, awareness on the need of EIA for major E&P projects became gradually entrenched. Consequently over 200 pre-development and post-development environmental assessment studies were carried out in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry alone between 1991 to date.In addition to this, over 200 pre-drilling and post drilling seabed survey reports were also carried out by Operators. Unfortunately, despite the upsurge in the EIA activities, the primary objectives of carrying out the EIAs are hardly achieved. This is because, the most important aspect of the EIA, the Environmental Management Plans (EMP) in which the impact preventive, mitigative and monitoring measures were proposed, were seldom implemented by the operators thus making the entire EIA exercise a worthless and wasteful affair. In fact EIA reports were, until 2000, merely shelve documents with very little or no political will and budget to implement same. The ultimate aim of the operators is just to satisfy regulatory provisions especially for the obtention of environmental permits.
|File Size||176 KB||6|