The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) is committed to fostering an environment of sustainable development where the oil and gas industry in Nigeria co-exists harmoniously with natural heritage.
This was made known by the Director-General/Chief-Executive (DG/CE) of NOSDRA, Idris O. Musa, in his welcome address at the validation workshop co-hosted by NOSDRA and Stakeholder Democratic Network (SDN) for analysis of the 2019-2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) held in Abuja on Wednesday.
Musa said the EPI was a comprehensive framework to assess and monitor the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
According to him, by rigorously massaging the publicly available data, the EPI would present a granular evaluation of industry performance and help to better understand the areas where improvements are needed and thereby develop strategies to mitigate the industry’s environmental footprint.
The DG/CE further disclosed that the EPI offered a comprehensive evaluation of the environmental impact of 44 oil and gas firms that operated in Nigeria during the period under review, focusing on the 2019 and 2020 environmental performance reports.
He explained that the analysis considered the quantity of oil spills and gas flares reported by each company in seven states of the Niger Delta (Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Imo and Rivers states), while Cross River and Ondo states were excluded due to negligible production and emissions rates.
Musa emphasized that the pollution data used in Nigeria was obtained from the environmental monitoring tools of NOSDRA, as sourced from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s Annual Statistical Bulletin, which the Corporation stopped publishing in 2019, and later the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Annual Oil and Gas Audit Reports were being used as a replacement source.
While acknowledging that the validation workshop on EPI represented the culmination of extensive research, collaboration and dedication by NOSDRA and Stakeholder Democratic Network (SDN), he extended his heartfelt appreciation to all the individuals with both organizations and funders of the project that contributed their time, expertise and resources to make the initiative a reality.
The DG noted that as a government agency, NOSDRA saw the validation of the EPI as a significant step towards achieving the goal of fostering an environment of sustainable development where the oil and gas co-existed harmoniously with Nigeria’s natural heritage.
In goodwill messages delivered by representatives of NEITI, OPTS and others, they gave kudos to NOSDRA for the validation workshop on the EPI, which they described as timely and worthy of due cooperation and support for improved environmental performance in the country’s petroleum industry.
Earlier in his address, the representative of SDN at the workshop, Mr. Alexander Sewell, explained that the EPI provided a standardized comparison of the environmental performance of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, using the first four indicators of total volume of oil spilled by each company, the number of spills attributed to each, the amount of oil (if) which was later removed from these spills and the volume of gas flares.
Sewell noted that in 2020, COVID-19 severely restricted NOSDRA’s ability to effectively document oil spills due to the associated efforts to contain the pandemic.
Participants at the workshop also made a case for improvement of data on oil spills and gas flares sourced from relevant government bodies in the industry.