T. Rousselin – MinesParisTech – GEO212 - France
Environmental issues arise at all scales in the area. We will discuss briefly a few imajor issues :
Lake Chad Shrinking
The shrinkage of Lake Chad is a complex issue:
France24 2009 report on the Lake Chad desapearance (© France 24)
Environmental issues linked with the construction and operation of oil pipeline
Oil exploitation can create environmental nightmares like the existing situation in the Niger delta.
Right from the beginning, environmental protection was one of the main concerns of the World Bank and of the Exxon led consortium. It was of paramount importance as the project was under heavy criticism from NGOs, both global environmental NGOs and local organizations.
Hence the environmental assesment was done and most of the documents were openly published (see World Bank and Exxon Doba Oil layers).
Over the course of the project; various studies allowed to monitor the environmental situation and the measures taken after the incidents which occured (both in Doba area and at the Kribi terminal)
In retrospect, even if no development project is never perfect, the Chad Cameroon Development Project has been well managed environmentally.
For the future, the main issues will be the end of Doba oil operations (remediation phase) and the long term evolution of the pipeline.
But now that the World Bank has left, questions arise on future projects, the oil fields developments in the Bongor field and the refinery project north of N'Djamena.
Despite the reduction of the water flow over the past 30 years (due to dams, forced irrigation in the upper Chari and desertification), each year large areas are flooded. The animation on the right (click on it to start it in a new window) illustrates the amount of flooding in 2002, based on the analysis of Landsat and Modis time sequences.
Risks will have to be controlled both for local extraction of oil in the middle of a flood plain and for the various pipelines (local service pipelines, pipeline from the Bongor oil field and the new refinery north of N'Djamena, pipeline for oil export (towards the Doba Kribi pipeline or towards Niger, Nigeria or even Sudan).
The refinery project itself is located 20 km East of the Chari river. Although the Chinese operator and the Chadian government expressed the goal to follow environmental guidelines, the available documentation shows that environmental rules, imposed by Exxon and the World Bank for the Doba Kribi project are not anymore the standard.
As an exemple, the sketch below illustrates the choice of the future refinery site between 8 possible options. Site n°7 was the one selected.
And the analysis provided in the refinery project page shows that the refinery site is at the limit of a risky area. In fact CNPC completed the Environmental Impact Study for the refinery and the 330 km pipeline corridor, but it was finished 2 years after construction had started, when it was already too late to modify important decisions.
GRAMP "lettre de la transparence" stated in its May 2010 newsletter that Doba lessons have not been understood in the Koudalwa - Djermaya pipeline project and in the Djermaya refinery project.
The study findings show the lack of communication and dialogue with local citizens.
In the future, questions arise as new actors will be involved (like the Griffiths - Glencore development in south Western Chad), some of them having fairly bad environmental track record.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 March 2013 )