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Seminar in Geology (GEY 486)

Topic: Environmental management in the oil and gas

exploration and production in the Niger Delta


What is Environmental Management ?
These are the procedures taken to
1. Minimize treat posed to the
environment, or
2. Steps taken to reduce the
already existing damages
caused as a result of the
activities of the oil and gas
exploration and productions

It covers an area of about 70,000 square kilometers spread

across eight of the 36 Nigerian states; Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers,
Edo, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Abia, and Imo. Active hydrocarbon
exploration and production (E and P) has been going on for
more than 50 years in the Niger Delta (since 1958).


• Hydrocarbon exploration and

production (exploitation),
• Oil refining,
• Petroleum products transportation Downstream
and marketing.
Hydrocarbon exploration and production
• Exploration surveying
Aerial photography Magnetic Method
Gravimetric Method Seismic survey
Once promising geological structures has been identified, the only
way to confirm the presence of hydrocarbon is to drill exploratory
• Exploration drilling: verifies the presence or absence of a
hydrocarbon reservoir and quantifies the reserves
• Appraisal drilling: determines if the reservoir is economically
feasible to develop
• Development and production: produces oil and gas from the
reservoir through formation pressure, artificial lift, and possibly
advanced recovery techniques, until economically feasible reserves
are depleted

These ‘impacts’ depends upon the stages of the

process, the size and complexity of the project,
the nature and sensitivity of the surrounding
• Human, socio-economic and cultural impacts
• Atmospheric Impacts
• Aquatic impacts
• Terrestrial impacts
• Ecosystem impacts
Human, socio-economic and cultural
These include changes in:
 changes land use patterns : land-take and
exclusion, provision new access routes, leading to
unplanned settlement and exploitation of natural
 changes socio-economic system due to new
employment opportunities
 changes transportation systems, due to increased
road, air and sea infrastructure
Atmospheric Impacts
The primary sources of atmospheric
emissions from oil and gas
operations arise from:
• Flaring and venting gases;
• Combustion processes such as
diesel engines and gas turbines;
• Airborne particulates from soil
disturbance during construction and
from vehicle traffic; and
• Particulates from burning sources,
such as well testing.
Aquatic impacts
The principal aqueous waste streams
resulting from exploration and
production operations are
• Produced water;
• Drilling fluids, cuttings and well
treatment chemicals;
• Process, wash and drainage water;
• Sewerage, sanitary and domestic
• Spills and leakage
Spillage on sea
Terrestrial impacts
Potential impacts to arise from three
basic sources:
• Physical disturbance as a result
of construction
• Contamination resulting from
spillage and leakage or solid
waste disposal; and
• Indirect impact arising from
opening access and social
Ecosystem impacts
Plant and animal communities may
also be directly affected by
changes in their environment
through variations in water, air
and soil/sediment quality and
through disturbance by noise,
extraneous light and changes in
vegetation cover
Oil spills
Oil spills in Nigeria occur due to a number of
causes, they include:
• Corrosion of pipelines and tankers (accounts
for 50% of all spills),
• Sabotage (28%), and
• Oil production operations (21%, with 1% of the
spills being accounted for by inadequate or
non-functional production equipment
The rupturing or leaking of production
infrastructures that are as a result of the
“ageing of the pipeline, and lack regular
inspection and maintenance”
Sabotage and theft through oil siphoning has
become a major issue in the Niger River Delta
states as well, contributing to further
environmental degradation
In late December 2006, more than 200
people were killed in the Lagos region of
Nigeria in an oil line explosion
Oil Spillage
Impacts on Mangrove Forests
Vegetation in the Niger River Delta is
comprised of extensive mangrove forests,
brackish swamp forests, and rainforests.
Poor land management upstream from
human impacts coupled with the constant
pollution of oil has caused five to ten
percent of these mangrove forests to
disappear. Both the volatile, quickly
penetrating, and viscous properties of oil
have wiped out areas of vegetation.
Petroleum products’ induced fires
various spillages of petroleum products
caused by willful acts of vandalization,
neglect of maintenance of oil pipelines or
accidents had occurred at Jesse in Delta
State, other areas of the Niger Delta,
Ibadan in Oyo State, Mafoluku, Abule
Egba in Lagos State and other flash points
along the pipelines.
Impacts on Human Health, Fisheries and
other biological lives
In oil drilling operations, corrosive acid
wastes, toxic chemicals and other harmful
industrial wastes are intermittently
released into streams, rivers, atmosphere
and seas.
Economic and social impacts
Pollution induces loss of farmlands, economic
crops, soil fertility and poisoning of fresh and
marine waters. All constitute massive and
unquantifiable losses to farmers, fishermen, and
hunters who depend on these sources for their
Impact on surface and underground
water sources.
Spilled oil and petroleum products do seep
gradually into subsoil and may pollute
underground water with dangerous
consequences to human health, animals
and underground organisms.

Surface water pollution

Natural gas flaring
Nigeria flares more natural
gas associated with oil
extraction than any other
country on the planet
Acid Rain Gas FLaring

When Sulphur dioxide

emissions from petroleum
production and refining
combine with particles of
water in the atmosphere,
they fall to the ground as
acid rain.
Forest Damaged by Acid Rain
The approach to this problem solving is a systematic approach to
management through Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE)
The general procedures for a HSE programme management include:
• Job hazard analysis : identify potential hazards with the aim of
taking appropriate measures to prevent accident as well as respond
to accident when they occur.
 Control measures that include first aid administration, awareness
lectures, use of personal protection equipment (PPE), safety
campaigns and use of sticker for information, emergency
procedures for on-shore and offshore safety, staff training. As a
precautionary measure, all personnel on field assignment must wear
safety gears such as boots, hardhats, glasses, hand gloves etc.
• Responsibility in ensuring that operations are conducted
in a manner that personnel and environment are
 Concerns employees’ responsibility in understanding
that all accidents are preventable. This must be the
background of every employee’s mind.
• Contractors and subcontractors must comply with safety
rules and regulations provided by all applicable laws
One aspect of HSE management programme that seems
lacking in Nigeria’s oil industry is community relation,
and this should form part of the HSE programme in the
country. For instance, it is the communities where oil
pipelines pass that are in better position to oversee
them. Because oil pipelines cross remote wide
geographical areas, regular field staff would not be in the
position to oversee them.
Only through a strong government company commitment to
environmental protection can minimize these pollution.
Pollution prevention and cleaner production
1. Waste management and disposal techniques: can be
accomplished through application of series of measures-
reduction, re-use, recycling, recovery, treatment and
responsible disposal of drilling material.
2. Oil spill contingency planning: identification of risk; the
planning and implementation of actions to manage risk;
procedures for reviewing and testing of preparedness; and
training of personnel
3. Decommissioning and rehabilitation: Site decommissioning
and rehabilitation is an important part of environmental
management. The main purpose is to rehabilitate a site to a
condition that meets certain agreed objectives.
4. Reinjection of produced water,
either into the reservoir, or into
another formation
5. Re-use, recycling and recovery of
waste materials has also been
examined, including the use of
drill cuttings for brick Road Construction
manufacture and road bed
material, use of vent gas for
6. Some drilling techniques that
have been developed recently
include horizontal drilling, Brick Wall
heliportable rigs, and slim-hole
drilling. Each provides a number
of direct environmental
advantages, such as minimizing
land take and footprint, and
reduction in waste material
• Harmonization and Regulation of Oil and
Gas Industrial Pollution Agencies
• Greater Involvement of the Oil producing
• Strict implementation of government
• Long term monitoring and surveillance
• Funding Research on Pollution in
The country should adopt
measures that would provide a
reasonable degree of protection
to its ecological, human
environment from pollution.
Such measures should discourage
discharge of harmful effluents,
into the environment through the
adoption of appropriate
prevention techniques using the
most effective and current
technologies on erosion control.
The human resource is the
greatest resource endowment of
any nation and must be