The environmental red flags of landed oil and gas exploration and production activities
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Like this? Share it with your network

Share

The environmental red flags of landed oil and gas exploration and production activities

on

  • 464 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
464
Views on SlideShare
464
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft Word

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

The environmental red flags of landed oil and gas exploration and production activities Document Transcript

  • 1. * Valentine Ataka is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and an LLM Oil and Gas Law Candidate (RGU). He isalso the Executive Director of the African Centre for Rights and Governance. His other works and comments onenergy issues can be reached at www.valataka.wordpress.comThe Environmental Red Flags of Landed Oil and Gas Exploration andProduction Activities- Valentine Ataka*1.0 IntroductionThe Oil and gas industry both onshore and offshore has come to be nearsynonymous with environmental disasters and harm1. To avoid or mitigate on someof the environmental problems associated with the industry on land these are someof the areas that a host government should look out for:-2.0 Land Use InterruptionOperational footprints of E&P activities2may result in significant alteration of landuse. Construction of seismic tracks, well pads, temporary residential quarters,pipelines, storage facilities, access roads and rigs constitute the footprints.Depending on the scale, the constructions and installations may cause displacementof people and wildlife, deforestation and general distortion of terrestrial landscape3.This problem described as ‘oil-induced displacement’ is an environmental as it is asocial problem in among other countries, Ecuador (Amazon), Nigeria, BurmaColumbia and Sudan4. It is currently the subject of a protracted petition by the SaniIsla community in Ecuador who have been displaced by E&P activities in theAmazon5.1Makuch, K.E. and Pereira, R, Environmental and Energy Law, (Oxford, 2012)2IFC, ‘Summary of IFC EHS Guidelines- Onshore Oil and Gas’https://www.estoolkit.com/DisplayResource.aspx?resourceId=479 accessed on 23rdMarch20133Bogumil Terminski ‘Oil-Induced Displacement and Resettlement. Social Problem AndHuman Rights Issue’ (Research Paper, School for International Studies, Simon FraserUniversity, Vancouver, 2012) http://www.conflictrecovery.org/bin/Bogumil_Terminski-Oil-Induced_Displacement_and_Resettlement_Social_Problem_and_Human_Rights_Issue.pdfaccessed 23rd March 20134Ibid5The Guardian, Jonathan Watts ‘Petition to Halt Oil Exploration in the Ecuadorian AmazonGets 1 Million Signatures’ February 6th2013
  • 2. * Valentine Ataka is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and an LLM Oil and Gas Law Candidate (RGU). He isalso the Executive Director of the African Centre for Rights and Governance. His other works and comments onenergy issues can be reached at www.valataka.wordpress.comOil Exploration Site near Yasuni National Park, Ecuador63.0 Atmospheric and air pollutionO&G operations have the potential of polluting the atmosphere through emission ofeffluent gases and operation noise. A study by the Cooperative Institute forResearch in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in North-eastern Colorado has recentlynoted that‘oil and natural gas operations are the dominant wintertime source of certaingasses, called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that act as precursors—‘starting ingredients’—for ozone pollution7Such gas emissions are known contributors to climate change and may impactof a country’s commitment to reduction of GHG emissions under internationalframeworks such as the UNCFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Accord and EUreduction Commitments8.The noise emanating from O&G activities is also of concern. Such activities areknown to generate noise during seismic surveys, construction activities, drilling,6Courtesy WWF Globalhttp://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/amazon/problems/other_threats/oil_and_gas_extraction_amazon/ accessed 22ndMarch 20137J.B Gilma et al ‘Source Signature of Volatile Organic Compounds from Oil and Natural GasOperations in North-eastern Colorado’ (Environmental science and Technology, 2013)http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es304119a accessed on 12th March 20138Godfrey Boyle (ed) , Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future (OUP, 2012)
  • 3. * Valentine Ataka is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and an LLM Oil and Gas Law Candidate (RGU). He isalso the Executive Director of the African Centre for Rights and Governance. His other works and comments onenergy issues can be reached at www.valataka.wordpress.comaerial surveys and air or road transportation.9Air pollution by O&G operations isbest illustrated in a video documentary, Poison Fire wherein the local communitygive accounts of the devastating environmental consequences of gas flaring in theNiger Delta.104.0 Land and habitat ContaminationThe discharge and disposal of wastes from operation installations may harm thesurrounding land and its habitats resulting in degeneration of soil quality, death offauna and flora as well as expensive clean-ups11. Examples of these harmfulwastes are listed by the EPA as ‘non-exempt wastes’ include hydraulic fluids, wastesolvents, produced water, fracturing fluids, unused drums etc.12.The operations may also result in spills from onshore facilities, including pipelines,due to leaks, equipment failure, accidents, and human error. A case in point is theJuly 2010 rupture of the Enbridge pipeline in Michigan said to be the worst on-landoil spill in the history US. The US National Transportation Board Report indicatedthat the spill had contaminated 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River waterway andexposed 320 people to crude oil13. The Clean-up exercise cost is estimated to havebeen more than $800m.9Jacqueline Barboza Mariano ‘Environmental Impacts of the Oil Industry’ (EOLSS)http://www.eolss.net/Sample-Chapters/C08/E6-185-18.pdf accessed 30th March 201310Friends of the Earth International, Poison Fire 2008http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bq2TBOHWFRc#! Accessed20thApril 201311E.G Carls, et al, ‘Soil Contamination by Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Operations inPadre Island National Seashore’ Journal of Environmental Management (1995) 45, 273–286http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479785700758 accessed 4th April201312EPA, Exemption of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Wastes from FederalHarzardous Waste Regulations’ (EAP, 2012)http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/oil/oil-gas.pdf accessed 3rd April 201313Nation Transportation Safety Board ‘Enbridge Incorporated Hazardous Liquid PipelineRupture and Release Marshall, Michigan: Accident Report’ (Adopted 10thJuly 2012)
  • 4. * Valentine Ataka is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and an LLM Oil and Gas Law Candidate (RGU). He isalso the Executive Director of the African Centre for Rights and Governance. His other works and comments onenergy issues can be reached at www.valataka.wordpress.comOil Spills Response Workers cleaning up Kalamazoo River, July 2010145.0 ConclusionWhile measures to ensure that the above environmental risks are avoided ormitigated are important, it would also be necessary to contemplate the measuresthat the IOC needs to take in the event that environmental damage doesoccur either due to accident or as a natural consequence of E&P processes15. Itwould therefore be necessary to put in place regulations similar to the UKEnvironmental Damage (prevention and remediation) regulations 2009 to ensurethat the IOC puts in place environmental damage and is in a position to meet theliabilities for compensation and remediation in the event that damage does occur.The expensive costs of restoring environmental damage16should not be handeddown to the tax payers.14Courtesy of EHS Today http://ehstoday.com/environment/epa-more-work-needed-clean-enbridge-oil-spill-kalamazoo-river15Zhiguo Gao, Environmental Regulation of the Oil and Gas Industries (CEPLMP, 1997) p3016For instance the Enbridge clean up exercise is said to have cost $800 Million (See aboven13)