Environmental Laws Governing Petroleum and Other Related Operations in Nigeria

Topics: Petroleum, Hazardous waste, Waste Pages: 32 (7601 words) Published: July 16, 2013
Environmental Laws governing Petroleum and Other Related
Operations in Nigeria Offshore from Mobilisation to Decommissioning of such Operations (including Seismic and Fishing Activities) in the areas of
Waste and Hazardous Materials
Toxic Chemicals including Carriage and Disposal.


The nature of operations in the petroleum industry is such that one of the direct consequences of Petroleum activities is usually the generation of waste and hazardous materials. These products together with toxic chemicals are not only used in the Petroleum Industry but are also transported from point to point. The interplay of these products with our environment must be regulated in order to prevent avoidable calamities on the human population. Nigerian laws have evolved through regulation and guidelines to protect and/or restore the environment to as near perfect as possible if damage does occur from the Petroleum Industry or related activities.

The philosophy behind the Nigerian Laws in the Petroleum Industry is that the licencee/Lessee or Operator is expected to be responsible for hazardous materials,wastes and toxic chemicals from cradle to grave.

In recognition of the above the Department of Petroleum Resources[1] has divided the Petroleum Industry into six stages and laid down rules to be complied with in dealing with these materials.

The stages are as hereunder:

✓ Exploration
✓ Production
✓ Terminal Operations
✓ Hydrocarbon Processing
✓ Oil Transportation
✓ Marketing Operations
Each of these six stages produces and generates wastes, hazardous materials and toxic chemicals, which are normally transported, treated and disposed of. We will now identify the relevant Nigerian statutes, guidelines and treaties governing this area.

Nigerian Statutes:

The Minister of Petroleum Resources is empowered to make regulations for the prevention of pollution of water courses and the atmosphere.[2]All licensees or leesees are expected to adopt all practicable precautions including the provision of up to date equipment approved by the DPR to prevent pollution in Nigerian waters.[3]The Licensees or Lessees are expected to carry out their operations in a proper and workmanlike manner in accordance regulations and practices accepted as by the DPR as good oil field practices.[4]

Some of the statutes and guidelines are as follows:

✓ Minerals Ordinance of 1914[5]
✓ Oil in Navigable Waters Act[6]
✓ Petroleum Act[7]
• Petroleum Regulations
• Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations • Petroleum Refining Regulations

✓ Oil Pipelines Act[8]
✓ Associated Gas Re-injection Act[9]
✓ Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act[10]
✓ Guide lines and Standards for Environmental Pollution Control in Nigeria • National Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitation) Regulations, 1991 –s1.8 of 1991

• National Environmental Protection (Pollution Abatement in Industries and Facilities Generating Wastes) Regulations, 1991 –S.1.15 of 1991 ✓ Environmental Impact Assessment Decree[11]

✓ Criminal Code[12]
✓ Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions, Etc) Decree 1988[13] ✓ Sea Fisheries Decree[14]
✓ Territorial Waters Act[15]
✓ Explosives Act[16]
✓ Oil Terminal Dues Act[17]

The Department of Petroleum Resources in 1981 issued interim Guidelines concerning the monitoring, handling, treatment and disposal of effluents, oil spills and chemicals, drilling muds and drill cuttings by lessees /oil operators. Tentative allowable limits of waste discharges into fresh water, coastal water, and offshore areas of operations were also established.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency also...
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