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ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY STUDIES OF POTENTIAL EFFECT OF CRUDE OIL POLLUTION IN ANAKPA COMMUNITY IN URUAN, AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
The work environmental quality studies of potential impact of crude oil pollution is undertaken in Anakpa to investigate qualitatively and quantitatively the impacts of crude oil exploration and exploitation in Anakpa Uruan environment. Anakpa the study location is one of the communities in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria where crude oil is found, drilled and corked as marginal well. The marginal crude oil wells were drilled and corked by Shell Petroleum Development Nigeria. The hydrocarbon wells in Anakpa, Uruan are regarded as marginal in view of it low production capacity. Crude oil exploration and exploitation activities within Akwa Ibom state is done both onshore and offshore crude oil bearing communities especially the coastal areas regarded as wetlands. Anakpa as one of the wetland areas in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria is rich in other biodiversity apart from crude oil and gas reserves found in the community. According to Eweje (2006) the wetland ecosystem enhances socioeconomic activities such as farming predominantly practiced by the rural people living in this community. However, the wetland ecosystem services are being eroded as results of crude oil and gas exploration. Thereby leading to decline in agricultural activities which forms the means of livelihood within the Local communities (Ekanem et al.2011). Invariably this decline has triggered a decreasing multipliers effect to the livelihood opportunities as results of food scarcity due to poor soil nutrients which no longer support agricultural activities within the study location.
Ekanem et al.(2011) further opined that exploration of crude oil over the years in the community have contributed to the introduction of invasive plants species which have affected the agricultural development. Also according to Ploskonka and Niklinska (2013) the intensive rising in demand of exploration activities coupled with the increase tendency to resumed the commercial operational activities on the marginal crude oil well in the Ankapa ,
Uruan has gradually affected the entire developmental activities in the wetland area of Uruan local government. As further stated by Eweje (2006) the resumed production activities through a concessional arrangement with other multinational organizations have further affected the traditional agricultural system due to declamation of the community farmland to crude oil production activities. In view of this development Akwa Ibom State government, realizing the environmental problems associated with these activities created ministries and commission to partners with the multinational and other regulatory agencies to check and identify environmental consequences associated with the development of crude oil marginal wells in Anakpa. According to Ekanem et al(2011) before the concession the corked well occasionally released high pressure built up within the wellhead leading to crude oil spillages onto the farmland and aquatic environment where they wells are located in Anakpa. In most cases depending on the location of such wells and the amount of crude oil, the crop yield from the farmland may also be affected. Apart from pressure released and built up around the well head areas poor integrity framework at the crude well head contributed also to the spillages recorded over time. In most cases the spillages occasioned by pressure release from the wellhead is not properly remediated in terms of sustainable clean up exercise by the appropriate regulatory agencies thereby leading to severe environmental consequences on soil which act as buffer to residual crude oil spills. There is also gradual decline in soil microbial activities with subsequently decline in soil nutrients required for plants growth and development. This resulted in gradual of loss in revenue depending on the socio-economic activities being carried out by people within the area. Therefore as mentioned by Nduka et al.(2009) there is need for sustainable exploration of these resources to ensure continuous protection of environmental resources both on land and in water. Sustainable development enhances the efficient extraction of these resources and prevents complete destruction of biodiversity. Also sustainable exploration of crude oil protects aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem.
Apart from the associated environmental consequences as mentioned, Anakpa crude oil just like other crude oil wells exist in pockets with each crude possessing a unique character(NNPC.2004). Therefore, for the convenience of commerce, economics, and processing crude oils are often blended into a mix that has a unique character. Presently, there are more than fourteen commercially available crude oil blends in Nigeria. These include: Bonny light, Bonny medium, Qua Iboe Light, Escravos light, Brass Blend, Pennington light, Focados blends, Amenam blend, Yoho light, Erha blend, Bonga , Agbami light as wells Usan blends (Etim et al.,2014).
1.2 CRUDE OIL EXPLORATION AND EXPLOITATION IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Hassan et al., (2015) stated that crude exploration and exploitation in Akwa Ibom State started in 1940 onshore the coastal communities mostly by Royal Dutch shell. The exploration was intensive as such some coastal communities of Akwa Ibom State were exposed to severe environmental degradation. The environmental degradation was severe because resources extraction was not done sustainably. Methods employed for crude oil extraction were exploitative leading to destruction of other biodiversity. As reported by Udo (2008) the first crude oil well in Akwa Ibom state was discovered in Ikot Ada Udo in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area in 1940 by the Shell and British Petroleum in commercial quantities, but the location hindered production as such production was suspended. But the well was corked as marginal wells by the company. Udo (2008) further mentioned that other places crude oil was discovered onshore in Ikot Abasi Local government areas were: Ete, Ikot Okwo, Ikot Akan, and Ikot Obioko. Within the coastal wetland area of the state. Crude oil was also discovered onshore Uruan local government area in Anakpa, Ikot Inyang Esuk, Esuk- Odu, Eshiet- Ekim, Ekim -Enen, Mbiakong, Ebekpe, Ituk- Mbang, Use. In Esit- Eket local Government area crude oil was also discovered onshore Akpa –Utong(Udo,2008). However, in Ibono local government area crude oil was also discovered both onshore and offshore the coastal land of the local government area especially the stub creek found around the area. Mbo Local Government Area also play host to the exploration activities in view of the crude oil discovered onshore the coast of the Local Government area. Eka local Government in the northern part of the Akwa Ibom State is also rich in natural gas reserve.
However in view of the concessional arrangement provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 2012, it was possible for other investors to acquire the marginal corked crude oil wells .The concessional arrangement made Frontier Universal Nestoil as well as Monuplo producing companies to start crude oil production from these wells located in communities within Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Through concessional arrangement with other international oil companies (OIC) production and processing and transportation of crude oil from the marginal wells had since resumed in some part of Esit-Eket, Uruan and Ibeno since 2015. The concessional arrangement allows partnership between larger international oil companies and smaller international/National oil companies to share production and storage facilities located where these wells are located. Such partnership further improves infrastructural facilities and promote operational integrity within the operational area. This landmark development in crude oil activities provided Akwa Ibom State community’s opportunity to play host to many multinational companies involves in extractive business within the coastal communities of the state. This development has promoted other socio-economic activities within crude oil bearing communities. Though crude oil conflict existed, but the case in Akwa Ibom State is effectively managed through the recognition and development of Crude oil producing communities especially they catchment areas. There is also legislation to protect these communities affected by oil extractive business based on the memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered with the host communities where crude oil is extracted in commercial quantities