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Background to study

Fossil fuels dominate the world’s energy market. The annual production is worth over 1.5 trillion dollars (Goldemberg, 2006). According to Energy Information Administration (2007), the energy generated from fossil fuels will remain the major source and still expected to meet about 84% of energy demand in 2030. The high world demands of petroleum and other fossil fuels are increasing and the world oil resources are judged to be sufficient to meet the projected growth in demand until 2030, with output becoming more concentrated in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (Shafiee and Topal, 2009). According to O’Rourke and Connolly (2003), the eleven OPEC member states accounts for about 77% of proven oil reserves and 40% of world production. The current world energy consumption growth rate is 2% and crude oil accounts for 36.4% of the world primary energy consumption (Shafiee and Topal, 2009).

Although crude oil is an important national economic mainstay of many nations, being the largest single item in the balance of payments and exchanges between nations, and the major factor in local level politics regarding development, jobs, health, and the environment (O’Rourke and Connolly, 2003), the rapid exploitation of petroleum oil and natural gas poses a significant environmental and ecological danger to the immediate environment owing to oil spills, effluent discharge and gas flaring. Furthermore, Hunter (2015) stated that petroleum exploration and production activities present legal, political, economic, financial, technical and environmental problems. Oil spillage has become a global menace that has been occurring since the discovery, exploration and exploitation of crude oil, which was part of the industrial revolution (Kadafa, 2012).

Nigeria, an OPEC member state, has about 36-34.2 billion barrels proven oil reserve as of January 2013, making the country the highest oil producer in Africa and the 11th in the world. Nigeria produced 2.1- 2.3 million barrels per day in 2013 (Hunter, 2015). Eleven oil companies in Nigeria operated 159 oil and gas fields and 1481 oil wells located in the Niger Delta Region (Kadafa, 2012). In spite of the obvious economic gains of this industry, crude oil exploration, exploitation, refining and use have had numerous negative impacts and costs to public health, the environment, cultures and heritage. Oil and gas development in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has significantly improved the nation’s economy over the past five decades; but it has also caused many environmental, social and ecological issues to the region. The Delta region is an endowed ecological zone of freshwater swamp, lowland rainforest, mangrove swamp forest, coastal barrier island and one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity of the plant and animal kingdoms. It supports numerous species of plants and animals making it a highly diverse and enriched ecosystem and the largest wetland in Africa. The aquatic life has also been greatly threatened by the toxicity of the oil spillages. According to Kadafa (2012), 1.5 million tons of oil has been spilled over a span of several decades in the Niger Delta region and has been either partially cleaned or not cleaned in some areas. About 9-13 million barrels (equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez spills) have occurred in the region over 50 years (Nriagu et al., 2016). About 0.7-1.7 million tons of oil enters the water bodies in the Niger Delta region owing to many anthropogenic activities involving oil and gas development in the region (Kadafa, 2012). Akoroda (2000) reported a direct relationship of gas flaring and the emergent cancer in the Niger Delta region. The people in the area are now experiencing respiratory disorders as a result of long term exposure to gas


Therefore, there is need to provide an environmental justice framework and systematic process to evaluate the environmental, social, health and cumulative impacts of oil exploration, extraction, transportation, refining and use. This framework should seek to examine the distributional, procedural impacts and injustice of oil exploration, extraction, transportation, refining and use, and their effects on the socio-economic and ethnic groups, host communities, ecosystems and biodiversity.

Statement of Problem

Environmental Impact Assessment is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts of proposed projects, plans, programs, or legislative actions relative to the physicalchemical, biological, cultural, and socio-economic components of the environment (Canter et al. 1977; Saheed et al. 2012). This process intends to provide decision makers the socio-economic and environmental consequences of the proposed actions in a bid to attain sustainability. The primary objective of the process is to arrive at plans, actions and decisions which are benign to the environment while enjoying the economic and political gains.

Nigeria, as a developing country, views sustainability in a neo-classical perspective where the ostensible aim for petroleum resource development is economic sustainability which is peculiar to dependent capitalist economies and with no price attachment to environmental degradation (Agbola and Alabi, 2003). Thus, this study was carried out to examine and evaluate the significant environmental and social impacts of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, the Environmental Impact Assessment system and other environmental regulatory frameworks enacted by the National Environment Protection Act for Niger Delta Region environmental protection from Petroleum Industry. This study also points out the gaps in the EIA process and regulations, proposes mitigation measures and makes the necessary recommendations for socio-economic growth.

Study Objectives

The aim of this study was to examine and evaluate the Environmental Impact Assessment system of Proposed Tank Farm. The past and present environmental menace of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the region will be examined. The specific objectives of the study were to:

1.                   Identify flaws in the EIA legislation in the Petroleum industry.

2.                   Analyze the environmental and social aspects that have been significantly affected and/or will likely continue to be affected by the of Proposed Tank Farm under the current legislation.

3.                   Analyze the environmental effects of the of Proposed Tank Farm by quantifying potential loss and damage to habitat, flora and fauna.

4.                   Describe and identify key impacts of the petroleum industry and determine measures to mitigate them.

Significance Of The Study

 The significance for embarking upon this research is primarily based on the importance of environment. It is a means of substance for human life, Animals, and plants. It provides lively hood for human, Animals, plants and its inhabitants generally. Environment would be of little or no comfort, if it is left in its natural form. To drive comfort from the environment, labour has to be mixed with the environment. It is as a result of the mixture of labour with the environment that we have houses, roads, Airports, Seaports, chairs, tables, beds, cars.

The environment contains precious properties for the comfort of man, such as gold, tin, water, oil. For man to drive maximum benefit of these precious properties, the environment will suffer one form of injury or the other such as drilling, digging, boring, etc.

Oil being one of the most precious property, is the major source of revenue for the country. Its exploration, exploitations, refining, transportation, has brought about huge damage to the environment, and its inhabitants. It brought about degradation, such as Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution, Acid rain, Coastal and marine environment also suffer similar degradation. There were cry out from individuals, communities, none

Governmental organizations (NGOS) and likewise international communities. In response to this, Laws, Regulations, were made and Institution established to prevent the degradation. Some of these Laws and Regulations includes: Oil in

Navigable Water Act, Associated Gas Re-Injection Act, Oil Pipe Line Act,

Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Regulation, Hydro Carbon Oil Act, The West Africa Gas Pipe Line Project, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, (NOSDRA), Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR), Niger Delta

Development Commission (NDDC), Niger Delta Ministry, and National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

 Despite the existence of these Laws and Institutions, environmental degradation by Oil and Gas companies continues on a very large scale. What would have gone wrong? It is based on these facts that this research was carried out. This research is also justified by the fact that previous writers in one way or the other, did not discuss some laws and institutions such as NESREA, NOSDRA and the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules.

Scope of the study

The study will focus on the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry taking into consideration the operations of illegal Indigenous Refineries in the country.

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