Novel geostatistical analysis of new data on oil spills
Almost 90 million litres were spilled, of which sabotage accounted for 66%.
About 29% of the population has been potentially exposed to oil contamination.
Cropland, mangroves and broadleaved forest are most contaminated landcover types.
Proximity to coast, roads and cities are key factors influencing spill occurrence.
Quantifying the exposure of humans and the environment to oil pollution in the Niger Delta using advanced geostatistical techniques
The Niger Delta is one of the largest oil producing regions of the world. Large numbers and volumes of oil spills have been reported in this region. What has not been quantified is the putative exposure of humans and/or the environment to this hydrocarbon pollution. In this novel study, advanced geostatistical techniques were applied to an extensive database of oil spill incidents from 2007 to 2015. The aims were to (i) identify and analyse spill hotspots along the oil pipeline network and (ii) estimate the exposure of the hydrocarbon pollution to the human population and the environment within the Niger Delta. Over the study period almost 90 million litres of oil were released. Approximately 29% of the human population living in proximity to the pipeline network has been potentially exposed to oil contamination, of which 565,000 people live within high or very high spill intensity sectors. Over 1000 km2 of land has been contaminated by oil pollution, with broadleaved forest, mangroves and agricultural land the most heavily impacted land cover types. Proximity to the coast, roads and cities are the strongest spatial factors contributing to spill occurrence, which largely determine the accessibility of sites for pipeline sabotage and oil theft. Overall, the findings demonstrate the high levels of environmental and human exposure to hydrocarbon pollutants in the Niger Delta. These results provide evidence with which to spatially target interventions to reduce future spill incidents and mitigate the impacts of previous spills on human communities and ecosystem health.
Christopher B.ObidaKirk T.Semple
Categories: Research development