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OIL & GAS

Gas Explosion Destroys Farmlands, Rocks Community In Rivers

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A gas explosion rocks a community in Rivers and destroys farmlands.

While there were no casualties from the tragic event, locals have attributed the accident to a malfunction in the facility.

It was learned that the explosion began on Wednesday night when the flames forced the people of Obagi to flee their town for fear of being burned alive.

Just one month had passed since an identical explosion in Omoku, to the west of the same Local Government Area, had killed nineteen people. This was the Obagi incident.

After confirming the explosion, Mr. Vincent Job, the chairman of the local government, attributed it to the foreign oil companies’ continued use of the area’s outdated infrastructure.

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However, Job demanded that local oil servicing companies always replace outdated infrastructure in order to prevent the recurrence of such regrettable incidents.

Job acknowledged that it had occurred at Obagi, but fortunately no one had died. The locals, with whom I visited personally, believe that the problem is due to equipment malfunction; however, experts in the field of oil and gas might have additional information.

“At Omoku West, there was a very heinous crude oil explosion. We also had one at Obagi yesterday, but it was in a different place. As newcomers to the oil field, you will discover that some of this equipment has been in service for more than 30 or 40 years, at which point it needs to be removed.

The locals are there, and you will learn that they endure a great deal of degrading treatment.

Pipelines and facilities should be kept up to date by the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

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As for Eze Clinton Elemele, the community’s traditional ruler, he stated that nothing was done to stop the explosion from happening despite the pipeline in question failing since June 2019.

Both Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and the oil company running the facility, Elemele claimed, rejected ownership of the facility in letters they had written to them.

After an inspection, both NLNG and Agip stated that the pipeline was not theirs, despite our letters to them about the ongoing gas leak that started in June of last year. Agip has now confessed that it is their own, and it has exploded.

As of the filing of this report, Agip and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had not communicated any information about the explosion or conducted a joint investigation visit to the scene.

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OIL & GAS

Rivers Community Calls For Urgent Action Against Pollution

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Kebetkache Community in Rivers State has raised an alarm about pollution committed in the oil-rich state by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), urging the oil exploration company, the government, the global community, regulatory agencies, and relevant stakeholders to take immediate action to address the issues.

In a statement titled “The Environmental Assault Committed by Shell in Rivers Communities” issued at the weekend to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the community stated: “The Niger Delta faces a threat to sustainable development. The environmental crises of air pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change have become significant challenges for individuals and communities.

The statement read: “This is why the Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre is using World Press Freedom Day to provide an update on key environmental injustice cases in Rivers state.” This is required to prevent misinformation and disinformation from people who do not understand the issues. It is important to remember that the information ecosystem is critical.

“The theme of the 2024 World Press Freedom Day is “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis,” which emphasises the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in light of the current global environmental crisis. In light of this, the Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre, in collaboration with other organisations, presents environmental pollution issues in the Ibaa and Obelle communities of the Emohua local government area, as well as the Aminigboko community of Abua/Odual local government area.

“In 2016, people in the Chukwure family compound discovered that their hand-dwell was filled with crude oil rather than the water it had been producing until that fateful day. The case was reported to Shell, a corporation that operates in the area.

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“The family has been worried about their fate while living in such polluted conditions. Shell’s response to advocacy efforts to obtain justice for the family includes sealing off the affected well.

“A visit to the site on May 2nd, 2024 revealed that some families are still living with the pollution. The family wants to be relocated to a safe and secure location, as well as compensated for the damages suffered by family members thus far.

“The Obelle community in Emuoha Local Government Area, Rivers State, is one of the locations where Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) conducts oil extraction activities. In 1998, the well-4 head operated by Shell erupted in a gas fire, burning over thirty hectares of land in the community for three months.

The community claimed that “after burning for a few weeks, SPDC added some chemicals to control it.” The
Chemicals were washed into the community’s aquifer, affecting people’s health and livelihoods. SPDC’s only solution was to acquire these lands without any alternative provisions for farming. There was no compensation provided to the community, and the people suffered untold hardship as a result of insufficient land to carry out their farming activities, with women being the hardest hit in terms of displacement.

“Cases of environmental pollution have also been reported in the Aminigboko community, where environmental impact assessments are also being contested by community members. The issues were reported to the Dutch National Contact Point, who stepped in and made recommendations. Since the recommendation on February 10, 2023, the company has refused to address the issues.”

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According to the statement, Kebetkache conducted an environmental and socioeconomic assessment in the Ibaa community in 2022, and the key findings from the field revealed widespread crude oil contamination in the seven groundwater and four soil samples covering a radius of about 6 kilometres. Based on the risk associated with undue exposure to crude oil contamination, the assessment recommended as an emergency measure that the impacted families and others within 1500 metres acr

“Kebetkache is thus using this medium to call on the government, global community, SPDC, regulatory agencies, and relevant stakeholders to take immediate action to address these issues,” the statement continued.

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OIL & GAS

Ukrainian Company Expresses Interest In Investing In Nigeria’s Energy Sector

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Energy sector

A Ukrainian company, EDS, has started the move to invest in the Nigerian energy sector.

Zapyshynyi Olexandr, the company’s Director, stated at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday that the company was already planning strategies for how to proceed with the project.

Olexandr stated that the project will combine solar, wind, and hydro energies and will begin in the FCT and Lagos before expanding to other states.

He stated, “We are looking at mini-grids because we realised that this is where Nigeria’s energy problem is.”

He revealed that the success of the first project will determine how much investment we will bring in.

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He stated that Nigeria should expect more investments from Ukraine, as the country is expanding its investments in Africa.

Olexandr stated that the President of Ukraine has authorised Ukrainian companies to invest in Africa.

Ben Gbade Ojo, President of the Ukraine-Nigeria Business Council, also spoke at the press conference, saying, “Today, we are pleased to present to Nigerians the EDS Ukraine Power and Engineering, a Ukrainian company that has everything it takes to turn around Nigeria’s electric power fortunes and help transform Nigeria into a power-efficient nation.

“We welcome the EDS to Nigeria and encourage all Nigerians to take advantage of their vast capabilities for long-term power sector efficiency in Nigeria.”

He stated that the primary goal of this press conference was to inform the government and Nigerians of the numerous opportunities available for the long-term development and optimal performance of Nigeria’s troubled electric power sector through collaboration with the people of the Republic of Ukraine.

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The Electricity Act of 2023, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2023, and the Amended Act, signed into law this year by President Bola Tinubu, allow for private participation at all levels of the electricity supply chain, provided that such private entities obtain the necessary license(s).

According to the amendment, Nigerians can now participate in the electricity supply business, which was previously reserved for the federal government and is overseen by the sector regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

With the constitution amended and the National Assembly passing a law for the electricity sector by the amendment and becoming an Act, the states will now proceed to establish their power sector laws and regulations.

By the 2023 Electricity Act, anyone can build, own, or operate a business that generates more than one megawatt of electricity at a single location.

Ojo also stated that the Ukrainian-Nigerian Business Council had fully mobilised to assist the federal and state governments, as well as all electric power sector players and stakeholders, in fully realising the benefits of this revolutionary Electricity Act

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OIL & GAS

Coalition Laments Oil Pollution In Niger Delta Ecosystem, Wants Tinubu To Visit Region

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Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has been asked to personally visit the Niger Delta region to gain firsthand knowledge of the devastating effects of oil spills in the area.

During a press conference on Friday in Abuja, a coalition of civil society organisations and stakeholders, Coalition for a Cleaned Niger Delta (CCND), stated that a billion
litres of crude oil equivalent have been released into the Niger Delta ecosystem as a price paid by local communities for Nigeria’s oil production.

The team was led to the press conference by the Executive Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, and the Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy, and Development (Centre LSD).
Otive Igbuzor stated, “We trust our president is well aware that the Niger Delta ecosystem has for approximately seventy years been plagued by unprecedented perennial pollution from petroleum production activities, enabled or worsened by a highly dysfunctional, conflicted, and compromised environmental regulatory system since the country struck commercial oil in the Oloibiri Province before Nigeria’s independence.” This festering devastation has projected and ranked Nigeria’s Niger Delta as one of the most polluted oil and gas regions in the world.

“According to the limited official records of Nigeria’s spill detection body (National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency – NOSDRA), there were 16,263 (sixteen thousand, two hundred and sixty-three) oil spills between 2006 and 2023.

According to NOSDRA data, approximately 823,483 (eight hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and eighty-three) barrels of oil were spilt, which is equivalent to 4,103 (four thousand, one hundred and three) tanker trucks or 130,933,797 (one hundred and thirty million, nine hundred and thirty-three thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven) litres of crude oil. These figures represent only a fraction of the reality because they exclude 5,456 (five thousand, four hundred and fifty-six) spills for which the spiller companies did not provide NOSDRA with spilt quantity estimates. Furthermore, estimates are frequently and “understandably” suppressed by operators. Data for some mega spills are also missing, such as the Aiteo blowout at OML 29, which lasted 38 (thirty-eight) days in November-December 2021.

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Furthermore, it should be noted that NOSDRA’s conservative spill statistics cited above do not include data for the entire 50 (fifty) years between 1956, when Oloibiri Well 1 was spudded, and 2006 when NOSDRA was established. We also omitted gas volumes flared continuously for 68 (sixty-eight) years, as well as millions of barrels of toxic effluents/”produce water” discharged untreated into rivers, swamps, and mangroves as waste during production. Allowing for these omissions and non-disclosures, it is likely that one billion litres of crude oil equivalent have been released into the Niger Delta ecosystem as the price paid by communities there for Nigeria’s oil production.”

The Coalition, while narrating the plethora of infractions done to the environment in the Niger Delta for over six decades, said: “Considering the apparent failure of a long line of Presidents, Petroleum and Environment Ministers, and Chief Regulators to recognise the indescribable gravity of this ravage, its severe socioeconomic and security repercussions for Nigeria, and to comprehensively resolve it, we invite Mr President to pay a spot visit, along with the relevant

They warned: “Amidst the global dynamics of the twenty-first century, and particularly in the context of
Nigeria cannot continue to act as if it is unaware of the value of its biodiversity and ecological imperatives in the face of climate change. There are many countries we can compare that produce more oil, earn far more money from it, and still jealously and profitably protect their environment and ecosystems. Norway has a trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund from petrodollars (and a population of 5.5 million, against
Nigeria, with a population of 228 million people, is a prime example of a country that keeps its waters clean, allowing for a robust fishing and marine industry. Scotland and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

The Coalition stated, “We trust that Mr. President and the government are aware of Nigeria’s numerous commitments to international treaties and conventions, including those on universal rights, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights, and climate change.” Mr President’s commitments to a global audience at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, UAE, just four months ago, are also fresh in mind. A genuine action to clean up the Niger Delta will provide an excellent progress report for Nigeria, and especially for Your Excellency, when the world gathers again at the next Climate Conference, COP 29, in about six months.”

They went on to say, “The protracted social injustice of funding national development at the extreme ecocidal expense of communities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, or communities anywhere else in Nigeria, needs to be urgently redressed, without any pretences, as witnessed under previous administrations. With the major international oil companies (IOCs) continuing to divest of their remaining onshore holdings in Nigeria, and their massive outstanding environmental liabilities thrown into legal uncertainty, portending further risks and escalation of social tensions for communities, the time has come for Mr President to act as the Protector-in-Chief of Nigerian communities.”

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The Coalition stated that, among other cardinal priorities, the following actions should be taken to resolve the environmental crisis and leave an unprecedented legacy in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole:

The President should issue an Executive Order to establish a Niger Delta Environmental Remediation Programme and Trust Fund. This can be either independent of or incorporated into the existing Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), which is currently overseeing the cleanup of Ogoni Land, but with a separate Trust Fund from the Ogoni Trust Fund, an expanded Governing Council, and an unimpeachable Management system designed to avoid the contradictions that have historically plagued HYPREP and the questionable progress of the Ogoni Cleanup. The Programme’s tasks would include a definitive health audit, in addition to the standard environmental audit of impacted areas.

“Adoption of the National Principles on Divestment and Decommissioning in the Nigerian Oil Industry, as compiled recently by a broad coalition of community, civil society, and international organisations after extensive field missions and engagements in the Niger Delta.

“Panacea for Oil Theft and Asset Vandalism: To avoid or minimise re-pollution, optimise production, and abate associated insecurity, implement a carefully
An articulated approach to economic crime (based on broad and in-
In-depth stakeholder consultations (which we are willing to participate in if necessary). The new strategy should be preventative.
proactive, inclusive, accountable, and looking beyond current official reliance on state and non-state military methods, which can frequently be tragically counterproductive, as results have shown intermittently.”

To fund the interventions, the Coalition proposed a combined action with the Federal Government’s financial latitudes, with the primary funding coming from the operators and joint venture partners in oil/petroleum leases, based on credible costings for remediation within their respective acreages and in line with
The Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) applies universally.

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“Additional funding sources could include: the Environmental Remediation Fund established but yet to be operationalised under the Petroleum Industry Act, gas flare penalties paid by operators, a portion of the existing Ecological Fund, at least to cover immediate region-wide impact and cost assessments; a portion of the statutory funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission, whose statutory mission expressly includes an ecological/pollution resolution mandate.
Since its inception, it has been decommissioning liabilities and restoring funds in oil mining agreements, as well as international environmental, climate, and impact funds/resources that can be leveraged through appropriate strategies and channels.

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