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1.1 Background of the study
Exploitation of mineral resources has assumed prime importance in several developing countries including Nigeria. Nigeria is endowed with abundant mineral resources, which have contributed immensely to the national wealth with associated socio-economic benefits. Mineral resources are an important source of wealth for a nation but before they are harnessed, they have to pass through the stages of exploration, mining and processing (Adekoya, 2003; Ajakaiye, 1985). Different types of environmental damage and hazards inevitably accompany the three stages of mineral development. It is the purpose of this paper to present in a nutshell the negative effect on the environment of the activities involved in harnessing the minerals in Nigeria. An attempt will also be made to examine the possible precautions and remedies that can be applied in order to mitigate the effect of adverse environmental impact of mining activities. August 1859, Colonel Drake drilled a 70 feet well in Titusville, Pennsylvania and discovered oil. By the 1800”s a number of wells were drilled in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and California. The birth of the modern oil industry is credited to the discovery oil at Spindletop in 1901 atop a salt dome near Beaumont Texas (Knowles, 1983). Oil and natural gas are dominant fuel sources in the U.S economy it provides 62% of the nation’s energy and about 100% of its transportation fuels this is also similar for many other nations (NEPDG, 2001).Oil spillage is a global issue that has been occurring since the discovery of crude oil, which was part of the industrial revolution.In 1956, Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) discovered crude oil at a village Oloibiri in Bayelsa state located within the Niger Delta of Nigeria (Onuoha, 2008; Anifowose, 2008) and commercial production began in 1958.Oil exploration and exploitation has been on-going for several decades in the state. It has had disastrous impacts on the environment in the region and has adversely affected people inhabiting that region. The Niger Delta is among the ten most important wetland and marine ecosystems in the world. The oil industry located within this region has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the country which is a fact that cannot be disputed but unsustainable oil exploration activities has rendered the Niger Delta region one of the five most severely petroleum damaged ecosystems in the world. Studies have shown that the quantity of oil spilled over 50 years was a least 9-13 million barrels, which is equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez spills (FME, et. al. 2006). The Niger Delta consist of diverse ecosystems of mangrove swamps, fresh water swamps, rain forest and is the largest wetland in Africa but due to oil pollution the area is now characterized byn contaminated streams and rivers, forest a destruction and biodiversity loss in general the area is an ecological wasteland. This affects the livelihood of the indigenous people who depend on the ecosystem services for survival. This study aims at the various environmental problems associated with oil exploration and spillage in specifically the Niger Delta in Nigeria. As well as bring into perspective the environmental impact occurring in an important, reproductive wetland and marine ecosystem. Contribute to the Federal Government of Nigeria, States, Local Governments of the Niger Delta region, Oil Companies, Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, Institutions, Host Communities, Researchers and the existing body of knowledge on oil spillage and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. It will enlighten and sensitize relevant authorities on the problem within the Niger Delta region of Nigeria with recommendations that would be made arising from the study, which will help policy makers on future plans.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since the discovery of crude oil in 1956 by Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) at a village Oloibiri in Bayelsa state located within the Niger Delta of Nigeria (Onuoha, 2008; Anifowose, 2008) and commercial production began in 1958.Oil exploration and exploitation has been on-going for several decades in the state which has led to several environmental and health hazard to the inhabitant of the region. Exploration activities has led to the loss of farms aquatic life streams and rivers which used to be a source of livelihood to the occupant of these oil producing community. It is on this note that the researcher intends to investigate the environmental effect of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to investigate the environmental effect of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria. But for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objectives
i) To investigate the environmental effect of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria.
ii) To ascertain the health effect of oil and gas exploration to the inhabitant of the region
iii) To ascertain the impact of exploration activities on the aquatic life of the area
iv) To ascertain the role of oil and gas exploration in promoting unemployment
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher:
H0: oil and gas exploration has no environmental effect in Nigeria.
H1: oil and gas exploration has significant environmental effect in Nigeria.
H0: oil and gas exploration has no negative health impact on the inhabitant of the region
H2: oil and gas exploration has a negative health impact on the inhabitant of the region
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is conceived that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal ministry of environment in ensuring that these exploration companies adequately comply to the stipulated environmental laws and regulation; the study will also be of great importance to the management of these companies as the findings will aid the in decision making in regards to their corporate social responsibility. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intend to embark on study in similar topic as the study will serve as a guide to them. Finally the study will be of great importance to academias as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the effect of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria. The scope of the study covers three senatorial district of Bayelsa state.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information or resources. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans. In human history, its most dramatic rise was during the Age of Discovery when European explorers sailed and charted much of the rest of the world for a variety of reasons. Since then, major explorations after the Age of Discovery have occurred for reasons mostly aimed at information discovery
Oil and gas
The American Petroleum Institute divides the petroleum industry into five sectors: upstream (exploration, development and production of crude oil or natural gas)
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing of petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum (oil) is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and plastics
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some part of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather, and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity
1.8 Limitation of the study
Though in the course of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study, some of these constrain are;
(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.9 Organization of the study
This research work is organized in five chapters for easy understanding as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study it’s based thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and recommendations made of the study.
Adewuyi, A. O. (2001). The implication of crude oil exploitation and export on the environment and level of economic growth and development in Nigeria. Preceding of the 2011 Nigerian Economic Society Conference held at National Conference Centre, Abuja.
ANEEJ, 2003). Report on Stakeholders’ workshop on oil producing community in Bayelsa State, held at Creek Model, Yenagoa. November 3rd . Amnnesty International (2009). Nigeria: Petroleum, pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta. Amnesty International Working Paper series 44/017/2009
Alagoa, E. J. (1999). The Land and People of Bayelsa State: Central Niger Delta. Port Harcourt: Onyoma Research Publications.
Audu, N. P. (2013). Agricultural Development Programme and Rural Poverty in Nigeria: The Bayelsa State Experience. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Delopment, 4(6),. 5 – 16. April (2011). The dynamics of E-banking in the South-South region of Nigeria. International Business Management 5(6). 388–397. November.
Awosika, F. O. (2008). Oil, environment and the Nigeria’s Niger Delta: Issues and Dilemmas. Geneva: Ecocity World Submit.
Azaiki, S. (2003). Inequities in Nigerian Politics: The Niger Delta Resource Control, Underdevelopment and Youth Restiveness. Yenagoa: Treasure Communications Resources Limited.
Babatunde, A. (2010). The impact of oil exploitation on the sio-economic life of the Ilaje-Ugbo people of Ondo
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