Nigeria proposes new penalties for oil pollution

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 23 -- Nigerian lawmakers are working out proposals to establish a national oil spill contingency plan and to implement new penalties aimed at discouraging oil spills, OPEC News Agency reported.

A Ministry of the Environment spokesman said a bill is being finalized for consideration by the Parliament. The government is expected to implement regulations outlining a compensation process in cause of environmental damage.

Pollution in Nigeria's oil-producing areas has prompted protests by Niger Delta citizens, government officials said, adding that the protests hinder economic development and national unity.

Rilwan Lukman, Nigeria's presidential adviser on petroleum and energy and also the former secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, discussed the pending legislation during an international biennial conference on health, safety, and the environment in Abuja, Nigeria, earlier this month, OPECNA reported.

"This is in keeping with the demands of the times, especially in the oil and gas industry. It is intended to make our regulations dynamic and enforceable," Lukman told the conference.

He said Nigeria has experienced an increased number of oil spills because of sabotage and equipment failures.

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