Tasks JTF to neutralise neglected refineries
From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
SHARON Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment on Thursday tasked the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources to partner with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to regulate the artisanal mining in the Niger Delta.
She gave the advice during a workshop organised by NOSDRA in Abuja.
She said rather than posing as a rival, the two organisations should work as team to tackle several environmental challenges confronting the oil and gas sector.
The minister also pushed for legislative supports for NOSDRA in order to better exercise its mandate.
“…the agency needs to be further encouraged and empowered to deliver its mandate…aside from strengthening the existing legislation, we also need to improve on our pollution management practices.”
“Once we have the bills scale through, these are arrears we have to go into…NOSDRA and DPR should work together and complement each other. Not to be in competition with each other.”
She also advised NOSDRA to work with the Joint Task Force in order to properly decommission abandoned and artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta region.
“NOSDRA will be strengthened in capacity to work closely, monitor and oversee the decommissioning of abandoned facilities of individual refineries together with the JTF so that they do not burn the refineries in an unregulated manner, thereby constituting further environmental degradation,” Ikeazor said.
“Another issue of concern is the issue of illegal mining of the product (oil) in the Niger Delta. We have to find a way of standardising the artisanal refineries into modular refineries to save lives of the people especially in Port Harcourt, with the soot particles they breathe in every day.”
The problem of soot and environmental pollution in the Niger Delta, particularly in River State has been a major public concern.