American Journal of Environmental Protection
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American Journal of Environmental Protection. 2013, 1(4), 78-90
DOI: 10.12691/env-1-4-2
Open AccessReview Article

Petroleum Exploration and Production: Past and Present Environmental Issues in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta

Aniefiok E. Ite1, 2, , Udo J. Ibok2, Margaret U. Ite3 and Sunday W. Petters2

1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

2Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, Akwa Ibom State University, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

3Department of History and International Studies, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Pub. Date: September 04, 2013

Cite this paper:
Aniefiok E. Ite, Udo J. Ibok, Margaret U. Ite and Sunday W. Petters. Petroleum Exploration and Production: Past and Present Environmental Issues in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta. American Journal of Environmental Protection. 2013; 1(4):78-90. doi: 10.12691/env-1-4-2


Petroleum exploration and production in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta region and export of oil and gas resources by the petroleum sector has substantially improved the nation’s economy over the past five decades. However, activities associated with petroleum exploration, development and production operations have local detrimental and significant impacts on the atmosphere, soils and sediments, surface and groundwater, marine environment and terrestrial ecosystems in the Niger Delta. Discharges of petroleum hydrocarbon and petroleum–derived waste streams have caused environmental pollution, adverse human health effects, socio–economic problems and degradation of host communities in the 9 oil–producing states in the Niger Delta region. Many approaches have been developed for the management of environmental impacts of petroleum production–related activities and several environmental laws have been institutionalized to regulate the Nigerian petroleum industry. However, the existing statutory laws and regulations for environmental protection appear to be grossly inadequate and some of the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region have failed to adopt sustainable practices to prevent environmental pollution. This review examines the implications of multinational oil companies operations and further highlights some of the past and present environmental issues associated with petroleum exploitation and production in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Although effective understanding of petroleum production and associated environmental degradation is importance for developing management strategies, there is a need for more multidisciplinary approaches for sustainable risk mitigation and effective environmental protection of the oil–producing host communities in the Niger Delta.

petroleum exploration production environment pollution Niger Delta Nigeria

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