The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to investigate the failure of oil companies to comply with the extant laws while carrying out exploration and production which have led to environmental hazards.
The resolution was passed during plenary after adopting a motion sponsored by Ahmadu Jaha, a lawmaker from Borno state.
While moving the motion, Jaha said many oil wells in oil-producing communities are depleted and are no longer commercially viable, resulting in the sale of old upstream assets by international and local oil and gas companies.
According to the lawmaker, international best practice demands that commercially non-viable oil well platforms be decommissioned to prevent environmental hazards or interference with other maritime activities.
Citing section 232 of the Petroleum Industry Act, Jaha said the law stipulates that at the end of their exploration activities, oil companies are to ensure that the environment is returned to its original state by decommissioning and disposing of non-viable platforms.
“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,” he said.
Jaha claimed that local and foreign oil and gas companies have “persistently disregarded” the extant laws by “abandoning non-viable platforms and facilities at their operational bases” without following the standard practices.
This situation, he said, poses “great risks to the host communities as the emission of poisonous gases from abandoned facilities are resulting in unexplainable ailments and terminal diseases among the people.
“The abandoned facilities are impeding water transportation causing unimaginable dangers to farmers,” he said.
Jaha said the relevant regulatory bodies “are not taking any serious steps to set things right,” adding that members of the host communities are “suffering life-threatening hardship as a result of negligence” of the parties involved.
The motion was adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Ben Kalu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the plenary.
The House however mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream to investigate environmental damages caused by non-compliance with extant laws by oil-producing companies after the motion was put to voice vote by Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu.
via: Information Nigeria