|HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN NIGERIA: PROS AND CONS|
It has been reported in the news that out of the 388 acreages in the country, 173 had been allocated to 85 companies that are involved in the upstream business, while 215 were yet to be allocated to investors. It was also disclosed that 70 per cent of the 315 oil fields in these 173 acreages are producing oil and gas, while about 30 per cent of the fields are still going through exploration and appraisal stages.
Concerns about Hydraulic Fracturing Hydraulic fracturing is highly variable and unpredictable, and because drinking water supplies are extremely precious resources, numerous concerns have been raised.
Possible Legal Regime regulating Hydraulic fracturing…
Economic Pressure: Natural Gas Development
In Nigeria natural gas has become an important and extremely valuable fuel, Nigeria has approximately 184 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves. Fracturing and the Environment Allegations of water quality impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing date back to at least the early 1990s, but hard evidence has gradually began to surface.
Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing… In this writer’s opinion, both Federal and State Environmental Protection Agencies should carry out comprehensive research in conjunction with civil society groups to ascertain and obtain credible evidence of environmental risks and possible economic benefits obtainable from fracking.
Air Quality Protection
Concerns also have been raised over potential air impacts. Generally, natural gas contains significantly lower levels of greenhouse gases than coal and other fossil fuels, and therefore increased energy production with natural gas has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions. Air controls would be used to address the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of natural gas produced by fracking.
Hydraulic Fracturing Best Practices
It is common to use diesel in hydraulic fracturing fluids. This should be avoided, since diesel contains the carcinogen benzene, as well as other harmful chemicals such as naphthalene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. It is technologically feasible to replace diesel with non-toxic additives such as plain water.
Possibility of Bans and Moratoriums
Despite movement toward reasonable regulation to address concerns related to hydraulic fracturing, there is still a strong movement, especially in the mid-Atlantic, toward banning all hydraulic fracturing. New York is the only U.S. state that has actually instituted any sort of ban or moratorium on fracking. Bulgaria and France have banned Hydraulic fracturing while in South Africa there is a moratorium on same.
The debate over hydraulic fracturing should commence sometime soon and should not be silenced, but it should remain based on fact, it should be focused on the protection that is already in place and what actually is being done to increase that protection or it will have failed to serve the public interest. In this writer’s opinion shedding light on the current status of facts should assist in that endeavour.
Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012
Counsel with Megathos Law Practice
Olufola Wusu is a Contract Review Specialist and Intellectual Property consultant