1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In recent years,
tremendous attention has been directed towards environmental deterioration by
man’s activities which adversely affect the lives of plants and animals on
land, water and air and even livelihood of people (OECD, 1976). One activity
that has aroused considerable interest across the globe and especially in oil
producing countries like Nigeria especially in the Niger Delta region is crude
oil exploration. Crude oil exploration
is one of such activity that can affect the environment negatively especially
when accidents occur in operations resulting to spillage of oil. As a result of
the impacts of crude oil operations to the environment, there have been actions in
the activities of crude oil exploration across the globe to prevent the high
risk of oil spillage and the accompanying environmental hazards (Ojakorotu and
Gilbert, 2010). However, the exposure to risk has not been helped by the
players in the oil industry who jostle for the ‘liquid gold’ thereby putting
pressure on the oil producing communities and the surrounding environment.
According to Egwu (2012), one of the factors that cause discharge of oil to the
environmental is the unethical engineering operations practiced by the
An example of the catastrophic
impact of oil spill is the Exxon Valdez oil spill which occurred in Prince
William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989 with an estimated crude oil spill of
260,000 to 750,000 barrels and more recently the BP deep-water horizon oil
spill on 20 April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the explosion and
sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It caused an oil discharge for 87
days with an estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels, (Egwu,
2012). As a result of lessons learnt from these and other oil spills, the
prevention, response and management of oil spills is being given top priority
worldwide especially in oil producing countries such as Nigeria in order to
circumvent the economic and environmental hazards of an oil spill. To this end,
several initiatives have come to the fore. One of such initiatives is to make
and enforce laws and contingency plans for the prevention and control of oil
spills. It is however curious that in most developing oil producing nations including
Nigeria, the management of oil spill to prevent and respond to unwanted oil
discharge even after so many years of petroleum exploration and production
activities have not seen a reduction in the number of spillage occurrence. This
has caused the government to resolve to grossly inadequate measure of monetary
compensation to the victims of oil spill rather than concerning itself with the
more appropriate solution of prevention and management to safeguard the
environment, society and economy from the menace that is an oil spill.
Spillage of oil
from exploration activities in the many parts of the world has lead to massive
environmental degradation in the past decades. Such problems include contamination of water
bodies, danger to aquatic life, destruction of flora and farmlands which
includes resort centers, destruction of properties, loss of lives and many more
(Badejo and Nwilo, 2008).
In addition, oil
spillage impacts to the environment can lead to unwanted migration of people
from the areas. According to Nwilo and Badejo (2005), the
consequences of oil spill is far-reaching as it impacts negatively on the
economy of a region, pollutes water thereby health of the local community,
contaminates soils rendering it useless for farming and the reputation of the
oil companies involved. These environmental consequences are some of the
impacts of oil spillage observed in the Niger delta region of Nigeria but could
be more. Therefore the need for measures to prevent and control oil spillage in
Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. The first step in managing crisis like oil
spills would be identifying the factors responsible for the spillage and
similar incidents management’s methods. With the outcome, better managerial
approach can be adopted to prevent and respond to oil spills. The question that
therefore arises are;
are the causes of oil spill occurrence in the Niger delta region of Nigeria?
are the impacts of oil Spillage in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria?
C) What are the management systems adopted
for control of oil spill in Nigeria?
these matters can also expose serious gaps in the management system for control
of oil spill in the Niger delta region of Nigeria. This increases demand for suitable systems to
address the issue of oil spill in the Niger-delta region of Nigeria by the
government and oil industries.
research aims to investigate the causes and impacts of oil spill in the Niger
Delta region of Nigeria and to identify the suitable management systems for the
control of oil spillage so as to reduce oil spills in the Niger delta region of
attain the above stated aim, the objectives stated below will be achieved:
Review of appropriate literatures pertaining to the study
Investigation of the various causes and impacts of oil
spills in the Niger delta region.
Investigation of the management systems used in
controlling oil spills in the Niger delta region.
Analysing acquired data and information of the subject
Identifying the main factors affecting the effectiveness
of management systems to reduce oil spills in the region.
Proffering suitable management systems and providing recommendations
to improve the management of oil spillage in the Niger delta region.
has a significant role to play in discovering approaches to prevent, respond,
and manage issues like such presented by oil spillage in oil production
activities in The Niger delta region of Nigeria. This study will critically
investigate and analyse the causes, and provide recommendations for the
improvement of the oil spills management in the Niger delta region of Nigeria,
in order to reduce and where possible prevent the occurrence of oil spillages
in the region.
study is focused on oil spillage in the Niger delta region of Nigeria but
particularly on causes and impacts of Oil spillage in the region and the
management systems practiced in controlling oil spills in the area. This study is necessary at the time
considering the increasing environmental deterioration in the Niger delta
region and presently the increase of migration of people from the rural areas
to urban area.
Niger delta region of Nigeria is the source of over 90 per cent of crude oil,
which is the main stay of the Nigerian economy. Oil accounts for over 90 per
cent of the country’s export earnings and some 80 percent of government
More than four
decades of oil exploration and production activities have left a severely
degraded environment in Nigeria's Niger Delta oil region, through uncontrolled
discharge of oil or its by-products including chemicals and wastes, The Niger
Delta is located on the Atlantic Coast of Southern Nigeria. It is the second
largest delta in the world with a coastline spanning about 450 kilometers and
it has been described as the largest wetland in Africa and among the three
largest in the world (NDES, 1997).
About 2,370 square kilometers of the Niger
Delta area consist of rivers, creeks and estuaries with stagnant swamp covering
about 1900 sq. km. This is largest Mangrove swamp in Africa; the region also
falls within the tropical rain forest zone. The ecosystem of the area is highly
diverse and supportive of numerous species of terrestrial aquatic flora and
fauna in addition to human life. The Niger Delta region cuts across nine states
in Southern Nigeria which includes Bayelsa, Abia, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Imo,
Delta, Edo, Rivers, and Ondo States. The region has emerged as one of the most
ecologically sensitive regions in Nigeria.