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Scientists warn: Oil explorations can cause tremors, earthquakes


PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

Following recent earth tremors in parts of the country, some scientist have warned that earthquakes can be triggered by oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta.

According to agency reports quoting some scientists and Niger Delta stakeholders, the earth tremors in some states raised a lot of concern in the minds of citizens.

The scientists warned that the country could be vulnerable to earthquakes and other seismological activities, triggered by the oil and gas exploration, among other human activities, especially in the Niger Delta Region.

It would be recalled that earth tremors caused wide spread panic among residents of the affected communities of Akenfa and Igbogene in Bayelsa State, and Akinima, Akieoniso (Oruama) and One Man Country and Mbiama in Rivers State.

Tremors also happened many times in Saki, located in the northern part of Oyo State – a hilly town that lies near the source of Ofun River, which is about 60km to the Republic of Benin border.

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) said that oil and gas exploration, as well as human activities among others, were the likely causes of tremor in the South-south.

According to the Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Communications, of NASRDA, Felix Ale, the organisation had done a preliminary report on the suspected earth tremors that occurred in July 15 and July 24, in Bayelsa and Rivers State respectively.

“The report shows that oil and gas exploration, suspected suture zones and man-made activities are among likely causes of the incidents.

“At this stage, it cannot be concluded that the tremors occurred as a result of manmade activities in the region or from tectonic activities from natural sources until a detailed investigation in the entire South-south region is carried out by NASRDA’s research team.

“The detailed analyses by the team will help the agency to adopt requisite mitigating measures to avert loss of lives and property in case of future occurrences.

“In view of the nature of earth tremors or earthquakes, especially natural tremors, the Space Agency is making plans to deploy monitoring seismic equipment to the affected region for continuous micro seismic and macro seismic activities.

“This is imperative because tremors will continue to occur in the future, depending on either natural or artificial causative agents.

“Scientists from the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, Toro, (Bauchi state), under NASRDA, are currently working on relevant seismic data to extract more information from seismic station located in Toro,” he said.

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