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Experts decry arbitrary discharge of tainted water by oil firms

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[FILES] Tainted water by oil. Photo: PIXABAY

– Urge DPR to intensify monitoring, ensure global best practices

Experts have raised concern over indiscriminate discharge of contaminated water by some oil companies in the country, urging the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to be firm in monitoring their activities.

This was disclosed at the International Produced Water Management Conference and Exhibition Africa in Lagos tagged ‘Optimising Capex and Opex for efficient produced water management in Africa’.

According to the pundits, many oil companies do not adhere to DPR’s regulations due to “less monitoring”.

Executive Director, Bowalds Energy, Dr. Wilson Balogun, lamented that many oil companies in the country discharge contaminated water indiscriminately into the environment causing hazards.

“It is time oil and gas companies stuck with global practices, such that when water is produced with oil, the water should be treated before it is released to the environment,” he advised.

Balogun urged government to empower DPR to ensure that the same technology used in Europe, America and other parts of the world where indiscriminate discharge are not allowed should be used in the country, to reduce environmental degradation.

He said: “There is a global problem within the oil and gas industry, and that problem is called produced water. When oil is drilled both onshore and offshore, for every barrel that is drilled, water comes with it. The problem is, what do we do with the water? The water is contaminated and cannot be discharged indiscriminately.

“However, many oil and gas operators in Africa, and Nigeria especially, discharge the water indiscriminately into the environment and that is why we have the Niger Delta crisis. If the issue of produced water had been dealt with from day one, there will not be environmental disaster in Nigeria.”

A petroleum engineer at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria, Peter Obidike, noted that it was time Nigerian oil companies imbibed global best practices in the management of produced water.

“Produced water is the largest influent in the oil industry; it an important aspect of the industry. For Nigeria, it’s critical because some of the fields are ageing and as the fields age, they produce more water. So it’s really an area that needs a lot of attention.

“Treating the produced water to regulatory standards and eventually disposing them is key; putting things in context and looking at what is done around the world, how technology can help and getting a plan that meets a particular operator.”


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