The House of Representatives on Thursday, mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to audit oil and gas infrastructure in Nigeria to ascertain the status of their equipment and techniques.

This followed a motion by Rep. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (Kwara-APC), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.

Moving the motion, Amuda-Kannike explained that the consequences of oil spillages included the poisoning of the waters and the destruction of vegetation and agricultural land.

According to him, as a result of the spillages, people in the affected areas develop health issues such as breathing problems and skin diseases.

The lawmaker said that a major reason for the spillages in Nigeria was that many of the oil firms used obsolete and inadequate infrastructure to channel and distribute petroleum products.

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Amuda-Kannike expressed concern about the report of the Institute for Global Energy Research, which showed that showed that Shell Petroleum Development Company’s oil exploration equipment in Nigeria was over 40 years old.

He said that this was against the permissible life span of 25 years for the equipment.

He said a percentage analysis of causes of oil spills established by the same institute showed that corrosion of pipes and tankers accounted for 50 per cent of oil spill cases.

According to him, sabotage accounts for 28 per cent, oil production operations account for 21 per cent and inadequate or non-functional production equipment is put at one per cent.

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Amuda- Kannike said that most of the government’s efforts to address these issues were curative rather than preventive, such as establishment of regulatory agencies like the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

“The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) were also established to addressing oil spillages, while doing little to be proactive enough in preventing its causes,’’ he said.

According to him, to reduce the adverse effects of the activities of the oil sector majors, obsolete infrastructure and old habits of doing things must give way to accommodate modern techniques and procedure.

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The house, therefore, called on relevant agencies of government, including the DPR and FEPA to ensure that oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria complied with modern standards.

It also urged companies to comply with modern techniques of production as a means of preventing and addressing the causative agents rather than to repair the damages from the effects of these environmental hazards.

The house directed the Committee on Petroleum Resources to report its findings within six weeks “for further legislative action’’. (NAN)