Rep. Jaha said the emission of poisonous gasses from the abandoned facilities results in unexplainable ailments and terminal diseases among the people.
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the environmental damage in oil-producing communities caused by non-compliance with extant laws by oil-producing companies.
The resolution follows the adoption of a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Service and Unprecedented Environmental Damage within Oil Producing Communities” sponsored by Rep. Ahmadu Usman Jaha (APC, Borno).
Leading the debate, Jaha noted that Nigeria is ranked as the 15th major oil-producing nation, with an average production of almost two million barrels per day.
He also noted that many oil wells in Bayelsa State are depleted and no longer commercially viable thus, accounting for the sale of lots of old upstream assets by international oil and gas companies to local players.
According to him, “the international global best practice requires that all depleted and commercially non-viable oil well platforms be decommissioned to prevent environmental hazards or interference with other maritime activities.
“Section 232 of the Petroleum Industry Act provides that at the end of their exploration activities, oil-producing companies should ensure that the environment is returned to its original state by decommissioning and disposing of non-viable platforms.
“Also Section 233 of the Petroleum Industry Act provides for the establishment of a Fund for the mitigation of negative environmental impacts associated with decommissioning or abandonment of oil and gas fields and assets.”
The lawmaker further stated that local and foreign oil and gas companies have persistently disregarded extant laws by abandoning non-viable platforms and facilities at their operational bases without following standard practices.
This, according to him, poses great risks to the host communities, as the emission of poisonous gasses from abandoned facilities results in unexplainable ailments and terminal diseases among the people.
“The abandoned facilities are impeding water transportation causing unimaginable dangers to farmers and more worrisome is that the relevant regulatory bodies are not taking any serious steps to set things right, while members of the host communities are suffering life-threatening hardship as a result of negligence from the parties involved”, he stated.