Dr. Mohammad Abubakar Minister of the Environment
Dr. Environment minister Mohammad Abubakar announced Monday that Nigeria had 4,919 oil spills between 2015 and March 2021 and lost 4.5 trillion barrels of oil to theft in four years.
This was announced by Abubakar at a city hall meeting organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja to protect the oil and gas infrastructure.
“According to data from the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA), the total number of oil spills recorded from 2015 to March 2021 is 4,919, the number of oil spills by compilation is 308.
“The operational maintenance is 106, while the sabotage is 3,628 and 70 has yet to be determined, making the total number of oil spills in the environment 235,206 barrels of oil. This is very colossal for the environment.
“Nigeria also lost around 4.75 trillion trillion trillion in oil activities in the four years between 2015 and 2018, as estimated by the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter.
“Several statistics have highlighted Nigeria as the world’s most notorious oil spill country, losing about 400,000 barrels a day.
“The second country is followed by Mexico, which reported only 5,000 to 10,000 barrels per day, a difference of around 3,900 percent.
“Now the environmental effect, which is the main concern of the Ministry of the Environment, lies in the loss of income.
“The attack on oil facilities has become the innovation that has replaced the unrest in the Niger Delta region against alleged poor governance and neglect of the area.
“The impact of vandalism on oil facilities has not only polluted the environment, it has had an impact on local people, the national economy and security,” he said.
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Abubakar added that activities related to oil exploration and exploitation had similarly changed the environment and some of their impacts were either reduced or prevented.
The minister added that appropriate mitigation measures had been taken, including the enforcement of relevant laws, regulations and guidelines such as the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (EIA).
He said the EIA process had ensured that measures were taken to reduce the negative impact and increase the positive impact on the ecology, health and social well-being of the communities in the project areas.
“With this in mind, over 1,300 oil and gas projects in Nigeria have undergone an EIA process under the supervision of the ministry.”
Abubakar added that the ministry held regular interactive sessions with oil and gas operators, focusing on the ongoing environmental degradation, deaths and lost revenue from the regular and incessant vandalism of oil facilities, particularly pipelines.
The minister stressed that the effects of the destruction of oil and gas facilities would have caused enormous economic losses from pipelines to plant decommissioning, as well as loss of biodiversity, habitat and ecological damage.
In addition, the destruction had also led to a deterioration in soil quality, which drastically reduced soil fertility, thereby affecting crop yields and food security.
“Plus the increase in air pollution and the associated problems of climate change, public health effects on affected communities, social impact and loss of livelihoods, supremacy among militants, victims among others,” he said.
Oil pipeline vandalism has been one of the main factors over the years that has contributed significantly to environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region, which accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of our oil and gas sector that powers the economy, the minister noted.
He added that the country’s oil and gas production accounts for a large part of upstream and downstream industrial activity and that production boundaries are increasingly being shifted into the deep sea.
Similarly, the oil sector accounts for over 90 percent of Nigeria’s total foreign exchange revenue, with the bulk coming from the numerous producing fields that are in the countryside, in the swamps and off the coast of the Niger Delta region, noted Abubakar.
He therefore recommended raising awareness of the negative effects of vandalism on oil installations and other illegal activities.
This awareness should also be accompanied by increased sustainable community development programs for the receiving oil communities, including skills acquisition, infrastructure and basic amenities provided by oil companies and relevant government agencies, Abubakar said.
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