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June 15, 2024
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FG Urges NOSDRA to Step Up Environment Hygiene After Oil Spill

The Federal Government has asked the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and other stakeholders to improve on environmental regulatory framework and use of cleaner technologies for sustainable future.

Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako, gave the charge yesterday at the Maiden Environmental Performance Award for the Oil and Gas sector in Abuja.

The event was organised by NOSDRA in collaboration with the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), an NGO.

Salako identified effective environmental regulatory mechanism in the petroleum industry as essential for sustainable resource management, climate change mitigation, economic efficiency and accountability.

The minister said that such mechanism was also crucial for building public trust for operational social licencing, legal and international compliance.

He said that oil and gas was unarguably the world’s most vital but most environmentally disruptive industry.

Salako, however, stressed the need for effective regulation of the sector to ensure that the benefits of oil and gas production were balanced.

“Also, there is the need to protect the environment, maintain public health and contribute to national development on a sustainable manner,’’ he said.

The minister said that the country had faced significant challenges and limitations in managing and responding to oil spills resulting in consequential land degradation prior to the establishment of NOSDRA in October 2006.

He said that the situation was characterised by a lack of cohesive policy, inefficient coordination among stakeholders and inadequate resources to effectively address oil spill incidents particularly in the Niger-Delta region.

“Nigeria is faced with a fragmented regulatory framework, inadequate preparedness and response, limited community engagement negative environmental and health impacts, adverse economic consequences, among others.

“Since the establishment of NOSDRA, it has been working in the area of spill preparedness, response, cleanup and remediation among others.

“Over the years, NOSDRA has remained unwavering in delivering on its mandate, responding to thousands of major and minor oil spills, ensuring that impacted communities are adequately compensated and remediated.

“Non-complying oil operators are taking to court to enforce compliance,” he said.

He added that environmental performance award serves as a multi-faceted tool aimed at driving change, promoting sustainability and acknowledging those that lead by example.

According to him, the award also addresses historical environmental goals; enhances community relations, boosts innovations and offers reputational requirement and investment.

The event was also an avenue to bestow the environmental sustainability performance award on oil, gas industry players by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN).

NOSDRA Director-General, Idris Musa, said that the awards are a testament to stakeholders’ collective commitment to environmental stewardship, innovation and pursuit of excellence within the oil and gas industry.

Musa said this at the maiden edition of the award for the Oil and Gas sector on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the award was to recognise the organisation with the best environmental performance for 2022 and 2023.

Musa said that the performance award was conceived to highlight and reward those that have taken bold steps to address environmental challenges.

“It is to showcase significant progress we can achieve when we commit to responsible practices. This initiative also reflects our understanding of the path to sustainability and the need to work together.

“It requires collaboration among industry operators, regulatory bodies, local communities and international partners, “he said

Musa said that by sharing best practices and leveraging on new technologies among others, the nation could drive the transformative change needed to secure a sustainable future for the oil and gas industry.

He said that NOSDRA plays a crucial role in safeguarding the environment from the potential devastations arising from the operations of the oil and gas industry.

Musa explained that 73 companies were assessed from 2022 to 2023 based on performance variables, which included submission of incident reporting forms

Other variables are the inventory of spill response equipment stockpiles as a function of preparedness for response.

He said the award is grouped into four categories which included the best environmental performance for both local and international oil companies.

Others are most environmentally-friendly states as well as awards for the 2019 and 2020 Environmental Performance Index carried out by SDN.

Florence IbokAbasi, Country Director, SDN said the organisation’s collaboration with NOSDRA was to encourage improved environmental performance in the oil and gas sector.

She advocated innovation and technical initiatives that would result in reduced oil spills and gas flare in the industry.

IbokAbasi identified some of the challenges in the industry as oil theft, sabotage and insecurity.

She said SDN was collaborating with relevant stakeholders including government agencies, and communities to ensure improved pollution reporting and a safer environment.

Jim Swartz, Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria/Mid-Africa Business Unit, a recipient of the award, said the organisation has been marked by continuous improvement, innovations and collaboration.

He was represented by Sam Daibo, Director, Government Affairs, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA).

“As we celebrate this environmental protection award, we re-echo our commitment to the partnership with NOSDRA and other stakeholders.

“The partnership is enhancing good environmental practices. Together we can build a sustainable future for Nigeria,“he said.

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