You Can’t Divest Without Remediation For Damaged Environment, Reps Tell Exiting IOCs

Nottingham Forest

The House of Representatives has approved the motion sponsored by the member representing Ideato Federal Constituency and chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream Sector), Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, which resolved that international oil companies (IOCs) leaving the country should not be allowed to divest their assets without measures for substantial remediation of the environment where they had operated for years.

The motion titled, “Need to ensure that international oil companies involved in the divestment of assets in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria comply with the decommissioning, abandonment regulations and guidelines of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA),” was adopted at plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion, Ugochinyere noted that most international oil companies leaving the country were divesting their company assets in Nigeria and relocating out of the country without clearly complying with the decommissioning and abandonment guidelines as prescribed by NUPRC and as enshrined in the PIA.

Ugochinyere expressed concern that as a result of the exploration and other activities of the international oil companies in the Niger Delta, the region has suffered great environmental degradation for years, with farmlands and water bodies being polluted and destroyed, leaving the communities’ ecosystem completely and irreparably exploited.

He further expressed worry that if consent is given for the divestment of the assets of the international oil companies (IOCs) without ensuring their compliance with the guidelines and regulations put in place, the host communities will suffer irredeemably and the companies taking over the assets of the IOCs will not be able to remedy the degradation.

The House, therefore, resolved and urged the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil) and the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC to refrain from granting consent to delivering IOCs until there is full compliance with the guidelines for decommissioning.

The House also mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Host communities, Gas Resources, Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the level of compliance with the decommissioning and abandonment guidelines of the NUPRC as enshrined in the PIA, 2021, and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.

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