Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) says it has commenced an assessment of the environmental impact of divested onshore oil assets hitherto operated by International Oil Companies (IOC).
Prof. Mondy Gold, President of IDC said on Wednesday that the IDC is collaborating with the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations in the Netherlands (SOMO) on the project.
Gold said that Technical Adviser to IDC, Prof. Rick Steiner, an internationally acclaimed environmental scientist based in Anchorage Alaska in the United States is leading the team of researchers currently working in the Niger Delta region.
“The Prof. Steiner-led team is on a fact-finding mission to Nigeria is conducting an assessment of the Impacts of divestment, decommissioning and abandonment of Onshore Oil & Gas Infrastructure in the Niger Delta.
“Professor Steiner is an environmental scientist and professor in Alaska, USA, and has worked around the world and several times in the Niger Delta on environmental aspects of oil and gas operations.
“He has been asked by SOMO, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations in the Netherlands to conduct an assessment of the current status of oil industry divestment, decommissioning, and abandonment of onshore facilities in the Niger Delta this July,” Gold said.
Gold explained that SOMO is supported in part by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and Finland, as well as The European Commission.
According to the IDC President, Stein will be joined on the mission by Bayelsa-born Dr Festus Odubo of the IDC also based in the United States.
The team will be in Port Harcourt from July 5-10, to learn as much as possible about the current situation there with oil industry divestment and decommissioning. Below is a brief description of the mission.
“The purpose of this mission is to conduct a preliminary, on-the-ground assessment of the current state of oil industry divestment, decommissioning, and abandonment of onshore infrastructure/facilities in the Niger Delta.
“It would be focusing primarily on environmental and economic impacts, infrastructure integrity, oil spills, future risks, etc.
“After the mission, we will prepare a report with observations and specific recommendations to be circulated to all interested organizations, including the U.N. Secretary General,” Gold said.
Gold said that the team currently on site visits had met with oil industry regulators in Abuja before the field trip.