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Nigerian representatives urge refinery shutdown due to carbon black emissions

Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, has advised the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to shut down the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, due to the persistent emissions of carbon black on the environment. Notch Consulting data put capacity at the carbon black unit at 18,000 tonnes/year, but industry sources had indicated that the carbon black unit was operating only sporadically for at least the last several years. (It is possible, in other words, that the emissions are not originating in the carbon black unit.)

The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, made the call to shut the refinery in a statement after a meeting with stakeholders over the lingering crisis between the refinery and the Ekpan community. The call followed a petition written to the committee, entitled, “A Save Our Soul Appeal” written by Ajomata/Awhakpor Landlords Association of Ekpan, dated May 24. In the petition to the committee were urged to sanction NNPC over the life-threatening carbon black soot being emitted into their environment.

According to the landlords, “This appeal was necessitated by the reckless emissions of dangerous carbon black soot/chemicals into our environment on a daily basis without due care and keeping to international best practices. Our continuous appeals in writing and physical visitation to the management of the said company and their supervising Ministry of Petroleum over the years have been ignored, as they have never replied any of our letters nor stopped the life-threatening nuisance that their emissions have become.”

After a comprehensive meeting with all the relevant stakeholders which included the people of Ajomata/Awhakpor community; NNPC; the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; Ministry of the Environment; National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency, NESREA; the Environmental Rights Action, ERA, and the committee leaders, the lawmakers called for the suspension of operations at the plant.

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