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The Environmental Protection and Safety Department (EPSD) of NAPIMS recently held a retreat to review the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) (2002). The retreat had in attendance the GGM, NAPIMS and his top Management, representatives from DPR and the IOCs. EGASPIN is a set of regulations that was initiated by the Department of Petroleum Resources to govern HSE activities in the Oil and Gas industry. Aside impacts on our environment, past experiences have shown that, every regulation in the industry has direct/ indirect effect on an organizations’ bottom line, i.e. Cash flow. EGASPIN is reviewed every 5 years due to technology advancement in attempts to keep pace with Technology and in response to the growing challenges in the Industry.

The Exploration and Production activities in the Petroleum Industry have various stages. At each stage of operations, gaseous, liquid and solid waste materials are produced and discharged into the Environment with grave consequences of serious pollution if not properly managed/controlled. Because of growing concern for adverse environmental impacts or damages arising from Oil related pollution, the Petroleum Act (1969) empowers the Minister of Petroleum Resources to make regulations for the prevention of pollution of water courses and the atmosphere.

Consequently, the Department of Petroleum Resources in 1981 issued interim Guidelines concerning the monitoring, handling, treatment, and disposal of effluents, oil spills and chemicals, drilling muds and drill cuttings Oil Operators. Tentative allowable limits of waste discharges into fresh water, coastal water, and offshore areas of
operations were also established.

Objectives of these Environmental Guidelines and Standards

Establish Guidelines and Standards for the Environmental Quality Control of the Petroleum Industry taking into account existing local conditions and planned Monitoring programmes.
Provide, in one volume, for the operator and other interested persons a comprehensive’
integrated user friendly document on Pollution abatement technology, guidelines and standards for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.
3 Standardize the Environmental pollution abatement and monitoring procedures, including, the analytical methods for various parameters.

In view of the above, the Manager, EPSD, Mr. E. O. Akhigbe, proactively initiated a move for NAPIMS to engage DPR and the Operators on some contentious issues in the document with the aim of providing a level playing ground for both the Operators and Regulators which was endorsed by management. In a brief remark by Manager, EPSD, Engr. E.O. Akhigbe, enumerated the purpose of the retreat and enjoined all participants to put in their best to ensure good discussions which will contribute meaningfully to the ongoing review of the EGASPIN (2002).The Retreat created an avenue for the IOC’s, DPR and NAPIMS to deliberate on the contentious issues regarding some provisions of the EGASPIN.

The GGM NAPIMS, Dr. Ayo Balogun, during the interactive session with the participants emphasized that environmental issues are not negotiable therefore the EGASPIN should be user friendly. He also talked about the contemporary issues of global concern such as climate change, carbon foot print, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and carbon emission and effect of the fluctuating Oil prices on a monoeconomic nation such as ours and reiterated on the urgent need to identify possible CDM projects so as to earn Carbon foot prints as another source of revenue for the economy.

He stated that the outcome of the Retreat will form part of the Guidelines which will ensure that our environment is not jeopardized. The GGM stated that NNPC Top Management’s commitment to issues relating to the environment is unquestionable. The GGM concluded by urging Stakeholders’ commitment to the full implementation of the regulations in the EGASPIN.

The retreat featured reviews on the regulations on Sanitary Waste Treatment, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Discharge Zones of Water Based Mud and Produced Water, Gas flaring, Decommissioning and Abandonment of Facilities and Installations, “Mystery” Oil Spills, Response to spill cleanup, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP), and the need to use the EGASPIN in conjunction with the Mineral Oil Safety Regulations (MOSR) policy document.