Impact of oil production on society and environment

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1.0   Introduction

        My research area covers Ukpenekang and Mkpanak village in Ibeno Local Government Area as well as Mobil terminal at Ibeno. Ibeno LGA which was carried out from the present Eket Local Government Area is located at the Southern most part of Akwa Ibom State lying between latitude 8oE  with Mkpanak, Ukpenekang Usuikim, Iwochan, Inua Eyet Ikot, as important villages in Ibeno local Government Area. Ibeno which is a wet land, also has with it a coastal sand, store and underground rocks of sedimentary origin showing Ibeno as great crude reservoir surrounded by swampy mangrove vegetation. This area is mostly dominated by fishing as the main stay of the people. The Qua Iboe terminal is located at about 1km East of the Qua Iboe river. The terminal became operational in 25th October, 1971 when crude oil was first received into on shore tankage.[1]

        The word crude oil or petroleum is derived from the Latin word “Petra” meaning “rock” and “Oleum meaning “oil”. It is a fossil fuel made naturally from dead remains of plants and animals laid down several years ago. It varies in colour from clear for tar black and in viscosity from water to almost solid. (Koyama, et al., 1988) Between 1970 and 1982, approximately 1,581 spills involving 2 million barrels of crude oil was reported in Nigeria (NEST, 1991).[2] It’s influence on the flora and fauna of the aquatic ecosystem are also well recognized  (Akpan, et. al., 1998)[3] it is known to reduce primary production of fishes (Akpan, et. al.,1998) impair vision in fishes produce water coloration. Lead to fish tainting, clogs the gills of fishes and tear meshes of fish nets and other gears with increase turbidity (Asuquo, 1997)[4].  The people of Ukpenekang and Mkpanak main environmental challenges result from gas flaring deforestation and oil spillage environmental degradation particularly in the areas of oil exploration has actually caused significations and confrontations between the people of the Ibeno regions and the Nigeria government, security force which has resulted in the destruction of properties and extra judicial individual killings. This crimes are therefore committed in reaction protest about the activities of Mobil producing Nigeria and the in action of the federal government. Oil production in Ibeno has several environmental and human consequences for the people inhabiting the areas around which oil production and also extraction takes place.

The attitude and actions of Mobil producing Nigeria in Ibeno communities and the activities and approach of government has touched the civil and political as well as the economic and social class, even their rights has been infringe upon. These communities are under bondage due to environmental degradation and oil production. Among the communities affected in Ibeno are Inua Eyet Ikot, Iwo Chan, Usuikim, Ukpenekang and Mkpanak villages.




1.1   Objective of the Study

The primary objective of this study was focused and aim at,

(a)    Identifying also examining the problem an impact of oil production on society and environment.

(b)    Identifying the problem of the affected communities through oil production, solving the problems as well as improved cordial and existing relationships between the company and the communities.

(c)    Identifying the plans of the company if any towards the development of rural areas as well as job opportunities

(d)    These work is aimed at sensitizing the populace especially the indigenous people of Ibeno region of their rights to an ecological sound environment, and how to seek court action whenever their rights has been infringe upon.

(e)    This study is to draw the attention of government to the existing oil and gas whose actions has made the oil companies especially Mobil producing Nigeria Ltd to act as a colossus exploiting oil and gas without consideration to the impact created on the Ibeno environment.


1.2   Scope of the Study

These research work is primarily concerned with the environmental challenges and conditions of the Ibeno communities where oil exploration activity is having a negative impact, on the communities, covered. The communities covered were Iwo Chan, Inua Eyet Ikot, Usuikim and especially Mkpanak and Ukpenekang. Also the extent of environmental damage within this region during the past 50 yeas is the reason for this research.


1.3   Meaning of Naturally Habitat

        The term “environment” has various definitions, the term “environment” refers to the natural world which people, animals and plants live. However, Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended 2011) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria refers to the environment.

(a)    The water, air and land.

(b)    Forest and wildlife.[5]

        In 1992 in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil where an environmental conference was held they came out with the definition of[6] environment meaning man and the surrounding. The environment means different things to different people in a literal sense, it means the surroundings, retaining to all that which surround people and affect their health as well as quality of their lives. Environment is therefore defined to extent beyond having objects which include ancient artefacts and archeological remains which forms art of the definition. (Awake, Nov. 8, 2003).[7]


Petroleum and Oil:- what is the difference?

        Although usually coming from what are called oil wells, oil is infact petroleum, or crude oil that issues from below the ground. Petroleum is define as “a thick, flammable, yellow to black mixture of gaseous, liquid and solid hydrocarbons’ that occurs naturally beneath, the earth surface. It can be separated into fractions including natural gas, gasoline, naphtha, kerosene, fuel and lubricating oils, paraffin wax and asphalt and is used as row material for a wide variety of derivatives product. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language[8]. Chenobyl, Bhopal, Valdez, and three mile Island, such names likely to conjure up images of environmental disasters that have occurred in various parts of the world. Each of these disasters remind us that the earth environment is under attack. Various authorities and individuals have varied warnings. Some have taken actions publicly to their point. An English Librarian Chained herself to a bulldozer to opposes the building of a road, through a fragile ecological area. Two aboriginal women in Australia led a campaign against mining Uranium inside a national park. Operations were suspended. Although well intentions, these efforts have not always been well received. For example, a naval captain under the soviet regime has concerned about radiation leaks from reactors of sunken nuclear submarines. When he published the locations of these he was arrested. Various organizations have also been sounding the alarm about threats to the environment. These include the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations, the United Nations Environment  programme; and Green Peace. Some activits say that they use creative confrontation to expose global environments problems.” Thus they use such tactics as chaining themselves to the gates of a saw mill to protest the destruction of ancient forests. Another group of activities protest one Country’s breaking of a whaling moratorium by appearing at its embassies wearing huge eyeballs to indicate that the Country’s action were being watched.


1.4   Environmental Characteristics of the Ibeno Community

        The Ibeno Community is therefore one of the wetland and coastal Communities in the world and with a good coastal marine ecosystem. The gas flaring activities in Ibeno is very close to residential areas. But there have a good drainage system and good packing spaces enough grasses planted along the path ways.  Stores and residential houses close to the Q.I.T Qua Iboe Terminal, and the helicopter hangers are neatly built.

Vegetation: Palm trees are scattered in the swampy region with a good background of ecology.

Topography: The topography is that of a table land.

Climatic Condition: Is always drizzling.

Humidity: Low

        My research made me to know that all the facilities I saw at Ibeno is own by Exxon Mobil at the Qua Iboe Terminal. It is made up of tank farms tanks distillations plant, and separation plant where crude oil is separated. Exxon Mobil is a company that drill oil and also sells oil. All their platforms are offshore and there concentrate on coastal waters of Akwa Ibom State. Plant forms are necessary for the drilling of oil to enable you to bring out crude oil from the seabed to Q.I.T. and is stored in tanks, which comes in three ways, as water gas and crude oils. And even what is called sludge. All together, there have sediments like silts, water and gas, which moves into separation plant where water, oil, gas and sediment are removed. This gas is now send back to the soil. This process is called gas re-injection back to the chambers which is 60%. After the separation at the chambers a very nice quality fluid is now sent back to the tanks.

1.     Containing thrash,

2.     Finished product.

Custom men are station there at Q.I.T. to monitor how this crude oil are pump back into the ships for transportations to overseas. Oil is not drill at the Qua Iboe terminal but it is drill at almost 15 nautical miles in the sea. The entire water drank by the Mobil staffs is from the sea and distilled, and also handle through a treatment plant. A company in Port Harcourt River State handles the project to avoid environmental pollution. The water boreholes in Ibeno are polluted but the water in Q.I.T. Qua Iboe Terminal are treated and pure for drinking. The gas that are returned back to soil is for stabilization of loose soil. The field in Q.I.T. that has a greenish grass has a drainage channels, that suits the rain water which finds its own level. There are artificial channels created and swampy because it is water logged. The water collected here goes back to the sea. And water comes out of the channels through weep holes. Offshore oil is drill inside the ocean. The point between land and sea is called water point. The difference is not in quality but location Mobil producing Nigeria prefers drilling because of the continental shells. The water in the sea bed is used to cool the oil tanks system. In Nigeria waters, cases of oil spillages Genesis 8 have been recorded since 1958 to date, and about 2.4 million barrels of crude oil has been released into coastal aquatic environment of importance are the Exxon Mobil spills, Idoho disasters, 1998 and Ogoni oil spills disasters 1958 – 2005, (Udo, 2007)[9] Exploration, exploitation, drilling processing and storage of crude oil have greatly affected the marine environment through pollution. (Richard, et al.[10], 1978, Ewa-Oboho et al.[11], 2006 Doertter  1992)[12].



[1]   Koyama, et. al., 1988

[2]   NEST, 1991

[3]    Akpan, et. al., 1998

[4]   Asuquo, et al., 1997

[5]   Section 20, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

[6] 1992 in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil

[7] Awake Nov. 8, 2003

[8]   The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.     

[9]    (Udo 2007)

[10]   Richard et al., 1978

[11]   Ewa Oboho et a. 2006

[12]   Doertter 1992

Impact of oil production on society and environment

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