The recent catastrophic Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and resultant spill, offshore Louisiana, USA awakened the world once again to the environmental hazards of oil explorations. Although the causal factor for the Deepwater Horizon spill is speculated, human error appears the consensus of experts who have tried reconstructing the events of that fateful day. The possible cause of the explosion will certainly be a controversial issue in a long time but the effects of the spillage on human, aquatics and environmental costs are very evident. There are several lingering questions from developments of the deepwater tragedy that set the tone for this write-up. Who takes responsibility of the spillage? How can the risk of pollution reduced to a minimum and that the highest standards of safety are employed in oil explorations? Is the Nigeria’s growing offshore oil frontiers properly equipped to handle mishaps of this scale? Are there national policies on liabilities, response actions and compensations for damages caused by activities to the environment? The responses to these questions are very germane for the Nigerian society. Deepwater offshore explorations have had significant growth in the last decade but Nigeria’s exploration-related risk management policies and practices have not enjoyed same exponential growth. This article examines the existing Nigeria’s liability regime and draws lessons from the episode of the Gulf of Mexico spillage yet engulfed in buck-passing of blames and liabilities.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/humphrey_onyeukwu/10/