Main Article Content
The exploration and production of oil and gas remains a priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria, as the revenue that comes from it is a major source of foreign income, and offers the opportunity for the transfer of technology to the country. However, oil and gas exploration and production has the potential to cause severe environmental degradation, not only to the physical environment, but also to the health, culture, economic and social structure of the communities where it is produced. Environmental impacts of the extraction of oil and gas at different times and in various places have included air and water pollution, oil spills, sociocultural impacts, which disproportionately affect women and children, ecological damage and accidental fires that result in the destruction of lives and properties. The achievement of a synergy between environmental protection and the economic benefits afforded by oil and gas exploitation has posed a challenge in the past and continues to do so now and into the future. The aim of this article is to contribute to the growing literature on the need to integrate the protection of the environment into the regulatory regimes that control the exploration and production of oil and gas in Nigeria. The article provides an overview of the environmental issues and a little incursion into the disproportionate effect on women and children and the technical and management approaches to achieving high environmental performance in the activities of the oil and gas exploration and production. The article found that environmental regulations are often ineffective because they are substantively inadequate and/or inadequately enforced. This accounts for environmental pollution arising from oil and gas industry. The article highlighted some of the best approaches to achieving high environmental performance in the oil and gas sector and made some useful recommendations.
Key Words: Best Practice, Oil and Gas, Exploration, Production, Legal Enforcement, Nigeria