THE STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND COMPENSATION PETROLEUM INDUSTRIES ADOPTING INTERNATIONAL STANDARD



CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
            Man’s natural environment is one of his inheritances from his creator (God). This constitutes the air he breathe, the land upon which he lives and produces some of his foods and the waters thereon, including the flora and fauna. However, these life supporting substances have been threatened through the deleterious activities of man.

            Over the years, there had been a continued increase in the acquisition of technological skills, with which man, now exploits and appropriates the gainful deposits of this natural environment of which oil/hydrogen is one. Thus when a substance or effect is introduced into the environment which adversely interferes with or alters the property value of the people, pollution is said to have occurred.[1] These unguided activities of man, sometimes result to environmental pollution. The effect of which is better imagined than experienced.
            The Stockholm Declaration of (1972)[2]has defined pollution as ‘the introduction by man directly or indirectly, any substance or energy into the environment, that are harmful to living resources, hazardous to human health, a hindrance to marine activities  including foiling, impairments of quality and use of water, and  reduction of amenities”.
            Importantly, our environment can be fouled or polluted by various kinds of pollutants.[3] But this research work is particularly on oil pollution. How the victim(s) are being compensated is all evaluated, adopting international best standard as a model. Adequate recommendation is also given at the end of the work.
            Perhaps, the findings of a team of researchers from University of Lagos,[4] provides material evidence to the traces of oil pollutant[5] in Nigerian water and its devastating effect. The research, reviewed the existence of certain chemical in the various water samples collected from different locations in the Niger Delta region. The chemicals were proved to be capable of causing skin and breast cancer. It is important to note however that these chemicals get in contact with its host (water) from the chief pollutants in the region ‘’oil’’.
            Furthermore, the incessant outcry in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, has a nexus with the hazardous effect of the activities of multinational oil companies operating within the region. Sometimes, these activities results to wanton destruction of land’s fertility, reduction in the productive capacity of marine lives and continued depreciation in the qualities of air and drinkable waters.
            Evidently, the Dutch Court had in the recent time, found shell petroleum Co. Ltd liable for destruction of rubber plantation and fouling of fish ponds leading to mass death of fishes, in the case of Niger Delta farmers v shell oil Co.[6]
            Consequently, the devastating effect of oil pollution has led to the promulgation of myriads of law (as will be seen in chapter two of this work) to Checkmate this seeming constant deviation from the natural order of the environments. (Details on legal framework for controlling of oil pollution will be provided under chapter two of this work).
            On the other hand, when this menace, oil pollution”, occur, the victims who were often left with nothing. Sometimes found themselves in a cross road, especially on the question of whom to apportion the blames. Pressing further on this issue, research reviewed that more than one factor could actually contribute to this incidence.[7] Examples of this factors includes; equipments failure, corrosion, ruptured flow-line, valve failure, hose failure, human error, natural factors, acts of third parties, sand cut erosion, accident and sabotage.[8] No wonder, the court in the case of Friday Alfred Akpan v shell[9] mentioned in Orbiter that an evidence of sabotage can not be ruled out of the plaintiff’s case, however, due care was not taken  by the shell company to  avert such  act of sabotage carried out by taunting the valve of the oil  pipe line leading to the oil spillage.
            However, it is evident in so many other cases as well, that the court does not hesitate to award damages in lieu of compensation for the victims of oil pollution especially where it is established that the act was as a result of commission or omission of the oil company.
            But despite all these award of damages and compensations, one more thing is still very great important. And that thing is human life. However, for the mere fact that loss of human life sometimes involved in the act of the oil pollution and the fact that nothing could be given and received in the exchange of human  life  calls for more precaution. That is why this work tries to evaluate the responses and compliance of the environmentalists, polluters and government alike, in line with the provisions of the various legal regulations and controls in respect to prevention of oil pollution and the quick responses to the cases of emergency.
            Nevertheless, the importance attached to the fight against oil pollution cannot be said to be misplaced.[10] For instance, the geographical movement of the product of petrol from the region of major production to the very industries where this crude oil is being refined to various petroleum product and the transportation of the refined products to the region of consumption. To make this movement smooth and effectual, the oil has to be transported in ship, by railways and through extensive pipelines from production to consuming area in the process of transportation along treacherous coastline and across sometimes hostile territory, spillage of varying magnitude does occur.[11]
            However, the offenses of oil pollution is further categorized into nine places under the Oil in Navigable Waters Decree, 1968[12] to includes; Discharge of oil into Nigerian waters,[13] failure to install oil pollution prevention equipment on ship,[14] failure to keep record of oil matters and detailed record of oil transferred to and from involving Nigerian and foreign vessels,[15] Harbor Authority Failing to provide oil reception[16] failure to report presence of oil in harbor waters.[17]
            Similarly, various defenses for the offences for oil pollution provided by the Act above will be discussed in detail at the cause of this work.
            Another important issue discussed in this work is related to the matters of jurisdiction. Often times, it is believed that the judiciary is the last hope of a common man. But in some cases too, it becomes frustrating for a victims of oil pollution who might have lost all hope of livelihood in the process to realize rather lately that the court in which he relied upon for justice has no jurisdiction to entertain his case. (The issue of jurisdiction in oil pollution is adequately addressed in the cause of this work).
            In conclusion, the words drawn’ its conclusion from the summary of each of the chapters that made up the entire work. For example, chapter one summarizes the general introduction of the work, chapter two, provides the general over-view of the legal framework for regulation and control of oil pollution and the issues of jurisdiction. However the concept of oil pollution and its hazardous  effect on the environment discussed under chapter is also touched and chapter four summoned up the evaluation of liability and compensation in oil pollution and under the chapter five where we have the summary proper, observations and recommendations was also made before bibliography.
            The entire work is however made available through doctrinal and non doctrinal methodology, and internet research methodology.

1.2       Statement of Problem
            A threat to nature is a direct threat to life. Hence, “nature is life enhancing substance”.
            The contemplation of the maker of all things (God), in the biblical geneses,[18] was that man, who was eventually created in his own image would found himself comfortable and his life blossom within the balanced substances of his natural environment.[19]
            Alas, man in his unending quest for knowledge, altered this Devine arrangement, the implication with which he now pay for. The  extent of man’s knowledge had aided him in so many ways including the discovery of oil.
            Perhaps, with oil, man’s financial problem seen to receive some relief. But one negative attachment to this blessing is that it cannot be tapped without damaging effects either on the land, air or sea oil pollution.
            The monster, “Oil pollution”, speaks the same heinous language all over the world, wherever oil is used. And Nigeria is not an exception. The nature of devastating effect of oil pollution anywhere it strikes it is usually pose difficulty in measuring the extent or quantum of loss incurred. No wonder, all our laws, the courts and the victims of oil pollution alike are often time confused on what constitutes adequate compensation for the loss resulting from oil pollution.
            More importantly, all the causal pollutants that are responsible for through the effort and resilience of some seasoned researchers. And varied preventive measures has also been prescribed and encapsulated into our laws. The problems then are implementation and compliance[20].
            The stretch of the entire illustration above, painted a clear picture of global menace occasioned by oil pollution. It therefore calls for the co-operation of all nations of the world, the collective effort of the various stakeholders in the environmental matters and indeed, everyone. To rise up to the challenges of this phenomenal problems.

1.3       Objective of the Study
            The broad objective of this research work spanned through the study of environmental pollution and compensation petroleum industries adopting international standard while the specific object of the study includes;
1.         Evaluate the factors responsible for occurrence of oil pollution.
2.         Examine the effects of oil pollution on the environment.
3.         Appraise the various laws both local and international etc. available for the control and prevention of oil pollution.
4.         Determine level of compliance to the provisions of these regulatory bodies.
5.         Compare the practices obtainable in petroleum operation in other countries inline with Nigerian standard.
6.         Analyze the incidences of jurisdiction in entertaining cases emanating from oil pollution.
7.         Give recommendations for alternative dispute resolution in lieu of measuring adequate compensation.
8.         Examine the plight of the victims of oil pollution and give recommendation.
9.         Evaluate the various defenses available for offences of oil pollution and non compliances.
10.       Determine the effect of oil pollution on the entire ecosystem.

1.4       Research Questions:
            With the knowledge gathered from the background of this research work and flowing  from his statement of the problem, the research question are then coined as follows;
1.         What are the factors responsible for oil pollution?
2.         What are the immediate and remote effects of oil pollution on the environment?
3.         Are the management and control of oil pollution in Nigeria in line with international best practices?
4.         What are the natures of offences for oil pollution?
5.         What actually constitute adequate compensation?
6.         What are other possible approaches a victim of oil pollution could adopt in seeking for compensation other than court litigation?

1.5       Relevance of the Study
            The significance of this research work includes creating awareness on the nexus between the natural environment of man and his existence. It therefore communicates the message of control and preservation of the environment from fatal attack of oil pollution.
            Secondly, this work is also a medium of sensitization and an eye opener, to concerned individuals and groups, on their rights and responsibilities in relation to the activities of the oil operators. Whose operations sometimes results to sporadic pollution of the environment in various degrees to the detriment of the immediate occupant and users of the environment.
            Thirdly, this research work also brought to review the activities of multinational oil companies in Nigeria in respect of oil pollution, damage and compensation. And inline with what is obtainable in other countries of the world, for example, Saudi Arabia, America and Venezuela, visualize the multinational oil companies social responsibilities on the host community
            Fourthly, with the knowledge put together in this work, it will be easy for any one to know the positions of law in matters relating to oil and industrial pollution. And as such, serve as a warning to the entire society. To refrain from activities or conducts that are capable of making them liable for oil or industrial pollution. For “to be forewarned they say is to be forearmed. The fifth relevance of this work is on the recommendations of alternative dispute resolution mechanism for the victims of oil and industrial pollution. Instead of following the rigorous processes of court litigation which sometimes does not or fails to measure appropriately the quantum of loss incurred in terms of adequate compensation. Extensive work is done on this topic under chapter four of this work.
            Finally, this work is therefore calling on all the  stakeholders in oil and gas industries, environmental sector, the government, all the stakeholder in the petroleum sector, all the conscious and unconscious users of the environment, corporate bodies, groups and indeed everyone, to rise up to the defense of  the natural environment from the hazardous effect of oil and industrial pollution.

1.6       The Scope of the Study
            This work spanned through Nigerian petroleum sector, and reviewed the effect of the activities of petroleum operators on the environment.  It covers an extensive examination on how oil and industrial pollution affects water, including flora and fauna, air and land including every living thing that existed on the land.
            On the other hand, the work also features extensively on the issues of compensation to the victims of oil pollution and the challenges of Nigerian courts in respect to determining what amount to adequate compensation.
            Therefore, this work is relevant to both Nigerian petroleum sector, ministry of environment, and Nigerian maritime sector. Etc.

1.7       Limitation of the Study
            No doubt, a number of factors pose constraints in the process of carrying out this research work. Some of these factors are analyzed below:
1.         Financial resource: If there had been enough financial resources on ground, I would have preferred to travel to the various part of the country especially to the Niger Delta region where oil pollution rained havoc. This would have been an added advantage to the over dependent on printed materials and the internet.
2.         Time: Time is another relevant factor that militates against this work. In fact, the frame of time given by the faculty is hardly enough to assemble all the data needed for the success of this work.
3.         Distance: In the absence of any other exigencies, more time and money will be needed to travel from Ebonyi State University Abakaliki which is located South Eastern parts of Nigeria to such places as Nigerian petroleum ministry in Abuja, Nigeria port Authority Lagos, western part of Nigeria and Niger Delta in the South Southern part of the country. The importance of these places are immeasurable as they houses the relevant information’s needed for the standard of this research work.

1.8       Methodology of the Work
The methodology adopted in carrying out this research work includes the following;
1.         Doctrinal methodology
2.         Non Doctrinal methodology 
3.         and internet research methodology.
            By way of analysis, Doctrinal methodology was used in this work by reading and researching through legal books, journals, dictionaries, encyclopedia, and other  secondary sources to extract information necessary for analysis and comparism legal  propositions, and thereby resolve the questions posed by this particular area of law.
Secondly, the application of non doctrinal methodology at the course of this research is of empirical purpose and whereby I obtained information relating to the various petroleum laws in relation to the practical conduct of multi-national petroleum industries in the society and the people therein example, Niger Delta, through questions and observations
Lastly, materials obtained through internet research was of immense resourceful for the purpose of completion and input knowledge of this work.


[1] C.A Omaka  The Nigerian Conservation Law Lion’s Unique Concept, Lagos Nigeria,2004) P38
[2] Pollutant is defined by the petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation, 1969 as including crude oil, mixture containing oil effluence s, mud or other fluid. Substances (see Regulation 25).
[3] Pollution is defined by the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation,  1969 as including crude oil. Mixture containing oil effluences, mud or other fluid. Substances (see Regulation 25).
[4] Offenses “Environment Pollution www.NigerDeltaCampaign.com
[5]  Ibid
[6] [2013] Available at htt/./www.vanguard ngr.com searched on 31/01/2013
[7] Oladele G.A., “A Comparative Study of the Legal Control of Oil Pollution in Nigeria and Under International Law”’ 2012) Vol.1, No 2, Commercial an Industrial Law Journal, .
[8] Ibid
[9] 2013 published on http./.www.recht spreak.nl under number LDN BM1469 Searched on 14the December
[10]J.A Omotola  Environmental Laws in Nigeria Including Compensation (Faculty of Law University of Lagos, 1990), page 222.
[11] Section 1 (1) of Oil in Navigable Waters Degree 1968
[12] Ibid.
[13] S. 3 of the decree Ibid
[14] Ibid S. 5(5)
[15]Ibid S. 7(5)
[16]Ibid S. 8(8)
[17] Ibid S. 10
[18] Geneses 1:1-3, “Good News Translation” (American Bible Society,1992) 2nd Edition  P1
[19] Adm and Eve were housed in a comfortable garden of Eden god. Gen.2;8 ibid
[20] Prohibition of discharge of harmful quantities of hazardous substances including oil into the environment or adjourning shoreline except where such discharge is authorized by law enforce in Nigeria see section 21 and section 32  FEPA for punishment.


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