HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN NIGERIA: PROS AND CONS


 

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.

Conclusion

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

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com for legal advice and more.

Legal Disclaimer by Olufola Wusu Esq

(1) No advice This note contains general information about [law and legal practice]. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. (2) No warranties The legal information on this article is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. We make no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not warrant that: (a) the legal information on this article will be constantly available, or available at all; or (b) the legal information on this article is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading. (3) Professional assistance You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

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3 Comments

Filed under Oil and Gas

3 responses to “HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN NIGERIA: PROS AND CONS

  1. Sir,

    I wrote a paper last year on shale gas and fracturing and I kindly wish to ask the following for my own edification.

    1. I was under the impression that hydraulic fracturing was used primarily for the extraction of shale gas due to the difficulty of obtaining them through conventional means. Am I to assume that hydraulic fracturing could have a wider application in the production of oil and conventional gas as well?

    2. Is hydraulic fracturing being used for the production of hydrocarbons in Nigeria already? If it is, how do you relate the issue of population density to fracturing?

    3. The last time I checked, there were conflicting opinions on the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, especially between the United States and the EU countries, with France suspending and withdrawing hydraulic fracturing licenses. Has there been a more authoritative position on the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing yet, especially in relation to the contamination of the ground water.

    Finally, by the way of observation, your article did not point out the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water resources and that its successes vary according to the different geological formations.

    Thank you

    • Dear Ishaya,

      Many thanks for your insightful questions.

      I am glad to hear you wrote a paper last year on shale gas and fracturing, that’s cool, you don’t mind sharing the link do you?

      As regards your first question.
      Yes you may assume that hydraulic fracturing can have a wider application in the production of oil and conventional gas as well, this is because Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to allow natural gas and crude oil to move more freely from the rock pores where it is trapped to a producing well so it can be brought to the surface at higher rates. Simply put it increases flow rates in oil and gas wells.

      As regards your second question
      (2. Is hydraulic fracturing being used for the production of hydrocarbons in Nigeria already? If it is, how do you relate the issue of population density to fracturing?)
      This writer could not confirm that, but you can go ahead and apply for such information from Department of Petroleum Resources under the Freedom of Information Act, legally they have to oblige you.

      As regards question three.
      (3. The last time I checked, there were conflicting opinions on the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, especially between the United States and the EU countries, with France suspending and withdrawing hydraulic fracturing licenses. Has there been a more authoritative position on the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing yet, especially in relation to the contamination of the ground water.)

      There are still conflicting opinions and research is ongoing, surveys are being carried out and reports are being presented and because of the huge possibility of profit, the stakes are quite high. I guess I might just have to ask, what do you think?

      Thank you for the insightful observation I quite appreciate that.

      True I was a little silent on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water resources and that its successes vary according to the different geological formations. Its a good thing you pointed that out, please share your knowledge in this area, thank you.

      Well the piece is just an attempt to spread the word on the possibilities and pitfalls in alternative technology that can be used to increase oil flow from our active wells in Nigeria. It is meant to help set the tone for greater awareness and possible debate based on facts on the benefits of Innovative Technologies(protected by Intellectual Property) to solve our everyday problems.

      Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this piece and give such valuable insights.

      Regards

  2. orthodontics

    You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve truly read through a single thing like that before. So good to find someone with original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

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