28 Dec 2018

Illegal artisanal refining, major source of pollution –Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have described illegal artisanal refining in the country as a major source of pollution.

The stakeholders, who spoke at the 18th Biennial International HSE Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria, recommended that the practice of burning crude oil recovered from illegal activities should be stopped forthwith.

A communiqué, which was released by the Department of Petroleum Resources on Thursday, read in part, “Revenue is being lost, and it causes major air, water and soil pollution. Procedures including temporary laydown areas should be established to receive, monetise and/or responsibly dispose of recovered crude oil.”

The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman, Conference Planning and Management Committee, Dr Musa Zagi, contained key outcomes and recommendations from the conference.

The stakeholders stressed the need to tackle illegal artisanal refining through immediate multi-stakeholders engagement among operators, regulators, government security forces, and community leadership.

According to them, continuous investment in stakeholders’ engagement, capacity building, technology advancement and allocation of the budget are key to sustained performance on health, safety and environment in the industry.

They said the performance of international oil companies should be sustained and improved upon, while indigenous oil companies urgently need to improve their HSE performance.

The communiqué read in part, “Passage of the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill remains an important and urgent step towards improved stakeholders’ environmental stewardship.

“The much-spoken about harmonisation and cooperation across regulators cum regulatory functions needs to be urgently done. The Federal and state governments need to address the underdevelopment and feeling of neglect in the Niger Delta as these remain a challenge to improved environmental stewardship.”

The stakeholders stated that some of the statutory fees currently paid in foreign currency should be considered for payment/reimbursement in naira.

They said while HSE practice in the upstream sector had achieved a commendable minimum standard over the years, the downstream sector required sustained attention to improve HSE performance.

According to them, pursuing sustainability has been proved to be good business as it positively impacts financial performance.

The government, oil and gas and service companies were encouraged to integrate physical activity and exercise within the workplace through modern technology such as gymnasium facilities.

The communiqué said, “There is an urgent need for the establishment of a National Environmental Database for the oil and gas industry. The DPR should lead this effort.  Performance reviews show that operators need to improve their compliance-performance in produced water handling, gas flaring and management of environmental issues.

“Operators must continue to improve on community-operator relations through sustained social interventions in infrastructure and human capacity.

“All new projects should have decommissioning in view from the conceptual stage of the project through design and implementation. Lessons abound from other countries with mature fields. Decommissioning guidelines should be sufficiently robust to also cover gas facilities.”

They stakeholders added, “Sustained efforts are required to stem the pervasive mediocrity across environmental practice in Nigeria. Key actions required include intervention to ensure quick passage of the bill for an institute of environmental practitioners and a Voluntary Code of Ethics for environmental practitioners.

“The oil and gas industry needs to include process safety in implementing asset integrity programmes. Such process safety activities should include measures to prevent the deterioration of safety critical equipment in the maintenance management systems.”

Source : punchng.com