Since 1976, the country has recorded over 6,744 cases of oil spill resulting in the spill of over 2 million barrels of crude oil, an official of the Ministry of Petroleum has said.
Mr Ogirima Yanus, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Petroleum said during a presentation at a meeting between development partners and the officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment yesterday in Abuja that of the over 2 million barrels that was spilled from the various incidents, 1,820,410.5 were lost to the environment.
He also said that through remediation processes, a total of 549,060 barrels of oil representing 23.17 per cent of the total oil spill into the environment was recovered. “The heaviest spill recorded so far occurred in 1979 and 1980 with a net volume of 694,117.13 barrels and 600,511.02 barrels respectively. Available records for the period of 1976 to 1996 indicate that approximately 6 per cent, 25 per cent, and 69 per cent of total oil spilled in the Niger Delta area, were in land, swamp and offshore environments respectively.”
He listed the causes of oil spill in the country to include Pipeline vandalism/oil theft/sabotage, illegal refineries, lack of maintenance on trunk lines and flow lines, adverse weather conditions, causing rupture, not adhering to regulations and policies on oil and gas activities and blowout during production or drilling.
According to him, a World Bank study commissioned on gas flare in Nigeria revealed that Nigeria accounts for roughly one-sixth of the world-wide gas flaring which in turn, spews some 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“However, the World Bank survey has listed Nigeria and 15 other oil producers, as countries that have progressively reduced gas flaring. Gas flaring is the major determinant of air quality in impacted communities with global effect on warming and cancer related diseases,” the Director added.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurencia Mallam said that the essence of the gathering was to tap into the rich resource of development partners in achieving a green and safe environment for Nigeria.
The ministry had in a presentation submitted thematic areas which it needs the intervention of partners to include climate change and sustainable development, pollution and environmental health, land degradation and natural resources conservation and environmental governance.
Written by Alex Abutu