A Comparison Of Environmental Assessment (EA) Prediction Practices For Offshore Oil And Gas In Canada And Nigeria: How Do They Compare To Best Practices In EA Literature In Relation To Seabirds And Marine Vertebrates?
Okpuruka, Charles Bruno Ejimofor
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Anthropogenic economic activities are progressively harming the ocean environment. This is true of the oil and gas sector, which has increased in scale, and is a major driver of the offshore economy. Oceans are severally polluted, as a result, through vessels accidents, accidental spills and large oil spill. There is also the challenge posed by seismic activities and operational installations associated with offshore oil and gas projects. Evidently, offshore oil and gas operations levy extensive impacts on seabirds and marine vertebrates, and the totality of the marine environment. The goal of Environment Assessment (EA) is to predict project environmental impacts with a reasonable degree of certainty. In the offshore oil and gas sector of most jurisdictions, EA is a compulsory requirement for project approvals. This paper considered the EA prediction practices of Canada and Nigeria. In the process, the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) of the Terra Nova and Hebron offshore oil projects in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and the Diebu Creek and Jones Creek Nearshore oil projects of the Niger-Delta of Nigeria, were analyzed and compared. The objective was to investigate the EA prediction processes of these two countries and how they met best practices, in relation to predictions on seabirds and turtles. The paper concludes with a critical evaluation of the performance of the sampled EIS documents. The outcome of the analysis indicated a weaker EA prediction regime in Nigeria. The Canadian counterpart appeared stronger in its adaptation to best practices, although there are gaps in the process, suggesting a necessity for improvement.