Posted by By Emma Amaize on
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria, operator of the NNPC/Shell/EPNL/Agip Joint Venture has owned up that oil companies were contravening the guidelines and standards set by the Department of Petroleum Resources for the petroleum industry in the areas of off-shore disposal of produced water, Environmental Sensitivity index (ESI) and gaseous emissions.
WARRI - Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria, operator of the NNPC/Shell/EPNL/Agip Joint Venture has owned up that oil companies were contravening the guidelines and standards set by the Department of Petroleum Resources for the petroleum industry in the areas of off-shore disposal of produced water, Environmental Sensitivity index (ESI) and gaseous emissions.
The oil companies in 2004 also generated 80,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, an increase of 6.7 per cent on the 2003 figure according to the 2004 People and the Environment Annual Report of the SPDC, prepared by KPMG Professional Services, Nigeria. The increase, said the report, "came from sewage at our Edjeba Sewage Treatment Plant that was not included in previous reports."
SPDC made a clean breast of the fact that "we are not complying fully in some areas of the regulations" but it observed that "these areas of non-compliance are part of the ongoing discussions between the DPR and the Oil Producers' Trade Section (OPTS) aimed at setting achievable regulatory standards and limits."
Blaming its inability to fully comply with the guidelines on the non-execution of certain key projects, SPDC claimed that it worked hard to implement the compliance plan agreed in 2003 with the DPR as a result of which "our compliance with the government's 2002 Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry (EGASPIN) rose from 72 per cent in 2003 to 87 per cent in 2004. This resulted in better management controls and sustained monitoring."
A major area of breach by the oil companies is the offshore disposal of produced water, stipulated by the DPR at 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from shore and within water depths of not less than 200 feet.
"This will require a major project to extend the existing offshore discharge line for the Forcados Terminal by some 17 kilometers and installing a similar facility at the Bonny Terminal", according to the Annual Report. It added that a study by the OPTS and DPR was currently being undertaken to determine the optimum distance and water depth for offshore water disposal and that "when completed, the results of this study may form part of the basis for a revised regulation."
Another aspect of breach is the non-availability of a functional Environmental Sensitivity Index. (ESI) mapping protocol. The OPTS' ESI protocol would form the basis for ESI mapping in the country which was undergoing approval by the DPR. But "until this regulatory approval is given", the report said, "we are unable to progress work and fully comply on ESI mapping regulatory requirements."
The oil companies have also not met the DPR gaseous emission standards which require them to install low "Nox" burners at all emission point sources and hence, be in a position to calculate the levels of "Nox" emissions from such sources. The report, however, said that new facilities would not be a problem since the requirement would be designed into the facilities but it explained that "this will mean major re-engineering at existing facilities."