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Kwale-Okpai CDM Project, Nigeria


The Kwale-Okpai CDM project in Ndokwa land, Delta State, is one of the two UNFCCC registered projects in Nigeria; they focus on the recovery and utilisation of associated gas that would otherwise be flared. Associated gas is derived from the process of oil extraction. Despite bans on flaring, oil companies like Shell Oil have continued this practice for decades, causing great damage to the environment and surrounding communities. So far two companies have secured CDM status for agreeing to utilize the associated gas rather than flare it. They argue that the project will contribute to poverty alleviation by providing reliable power supply, reducing emissions, creating employment, transferring technology and fostering sustainable development. However, environmental justice activists object to the issuing of CDM credits to such projects, arguing that companies are being rewarded for reducing what is an already illegal practice. Gas flaring was outlawed in 1984 through legislation, and subsequently amended through the Gas Flaring Prohibition and Punishment Bill (2009). Furthermore, local communities have not benefited from the project.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kwale-Okpai CDM Project, Nigeria
State or province:Delta State
Location of conflict:Kwale, Ukwuani, Ndokwa-East and Ndokwa-West
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Gas flaring
Specific commodities:Carbon offsets
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kwale-Okpai CDM is projected to reduce emissions by an estimated 1,496,934 metric tonnes of CO2. In comparison, a CDM project for involving the importation of 125000 fuel efficient wood stoves from a German manufacturer is estimated to reduce emissions by 31,309 C02 metric tonnes annually.

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Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) from Nigeria
Phillip Oil from Nigeria
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria
Relevant government actors:Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria)
International and Finance InstitutionsUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/CDM (UNFCC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth, Social Action, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsHeat from Gas flaring
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:Retract CDM status from projects that would otherwise be illegal, eg. gas flaring.
Enforce gas flaring ban.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Flaring still continues. The residents of the Niger Delta are neither beneficiaries from the profits of CDM projects nor able to benefit from the companies facilities (eg.reliable electricity, hospitals, good drinking water, education). One of the traditional local leaders argues that the company has not respected terms of memorandum of understanding. Electricity generation has not improved. The project has not generated employment. Living conditions have not improved and the project has not generated significant employment. CDM projects are characterized by fraud, exclusion, the destruction of natural habitats, and the degradation of the livelihoods of local communities, and of soil and water resources.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Prohibition of gas flaring since 1979;

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Agency;

National Policy on Environment;

Gas Flaring Prohibition and Punishment Bill (2009)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Mired in a Fossil Trap,the Nigerian CDM Report,Benin City,

Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth, May 2011.

Il Delta dei Veleni (Italian), re:common
[click to view]

Onoiribholo,F. Nigeria: Kwale Chief Laments Plight of Oil Communities.
[click to view]

CDMS Cannot Deliver the Money:
[click to view]

Carbon Trade Watch. Groups slam Nigerias submission of gas flare reductions for carbon.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Oil for Nothing, re:common
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Patrick Bond
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:821
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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