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NOSDRA tasked to enhance environmental rules

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By Usman Oladimeji

Government called for an enhanced environmental regulatory framework.

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has been urged by the federal government, along with other stakeholders, to enhance the environmental regulatory framework and adopt cleaner technologies in order to ensure a sustainable future. Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako emphasized the importance of implementing strong environmental regulations in the Petroleum sector at the Maiden Environmental Performance Award ceremony for the Oil and Gas sector in Abuja, organized by NOSDRA in partnership with the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN). He said such regulations are crucial for ensuring sustainable resource management, mitigating Climate Change, promoting economic efficiency, and enhancing accountability.

Salako stated that creating such a mechanism is important to establish public trust for operational social licensing, legal compliance, and meeting international standards. He noted that the Oil and Gas Industry is undeniably essential on a global scale, despite its negative impact on the environment. Salako highlighted the necessity of implementing strong regulations within the sector to ensure a balance between the benefits of oil and gas production. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of preserving the natural world, upholding public well-being, and fostering sustainable growth for the country.

Lack of a unified policy impede dealing with oil spill incidents.

Before NOSDRA was founded in October 2006, the country had struggled with handling and reacting to Oil Spills, leading to land degradation, he said. The lack of a unified policy, poor coordination among stakeholders, and limited resources made it difficult to effectively deal with oil spill incidents, especially in the Niger-Delta region. In Nigeria, there are several challenges including a disorganized regulatory system, lack of readiness and response, minimal community involvement, harmful effects on the environment and health, and negative economic outcomes.

To this end, NOSDRA was founded with a focus on spill prevention, response, and restoration efforts. Throughout its existence, NOSDRA has consistently fulfilled its responsibilities by addressing a multitude of oil spills, providing fair compensation to affected communities, and restoring the environment. Oil operators who failed to adhere to regulations were taken to court to uphold compliance measures. He described the environmental performance award as a versatile instrument that encourages change, supports Sustainability, and recognizes those who set a positive example.

Protecting the environment from the harmful oil impacts.

Other benefits of the award include its recognition of past environmental achievements, improvement of community connections, stimulation of new ideas, and fulfilment of reputation and financial obligations. Additionally, the ceremony honoured oil and gas companies with the environmental sustainability performance award presented by NOSDRA and SDN. Also speaking at the event, Idris Musa, the Director-General of NOSDRA, highlighted how the awards showcase the dedication of all stakeholders towards environmental conservation, creativity, and striving for perfection in the oil and gas sector.

Among the recipients of awards were Total Energy, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company, and Agip oil, with Akwa-Ibom being honoured as the most environmentally-conscious state. The awards were given to acknowledge outstanding environmental performance in the years 2022 and 2023. According to him, NOSDRA is vital in protecting the environment from the harmful impacts of oil and gas activities. Musa detailed that a total of 73 companies were reviewed between 2022 and 2023, evaluating factors such as incident reporting compliance and spill response equipment readiness levels.

Related Article: NOSDRA advises Nigerians to ensure safety

Florence IbokAbasi, SDN’s Country Director, said partnering with NOSDRA is based on enhancing environmental practices within the oil and gas industry. She emphasized the need for creative solutions and technological advancements to minimize oil spills and gas flaring. IbokAbasi highlighted the organization’s efforts to work closely with various stakeholders, including government bodies and local communities, to promote better Pollution monitoring and create a safer ecological landscape. Jim Swartz, the Chairman and Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria/Mid-Africa Business Unit, highlighted the organization’s focus on ongoing enhancements, creative ideas, and teamwork. He emphasized their dedication to promoting sustainable environmental practices through collaborations with NOSDRA and other partners.


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