308 deaths haunt Nigeria’s oil and gas sector

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Over 308 people, mostly Nigerians, have died from accidents while working in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the last seven years, a Daily Trust estimate has shown.

The number of deaths was arrived at from a collation of official data on fatal accidents in the oil and gas industry obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) between 2012 and 2015, media reports, as well as operational incident reports contained in oil companies’ annual statistics from 2015 to date.

The number of deaths calculated are mere estimates computed from figures either officially reported by the industry regulator or those confirmed by oil companies. Hundreds of oil industry fatalities occur yearly that are hardly reported or get to public notice. The latest widely recorded deaths was the killing of an NNPC team on a mission to find oil in the Lake Chad Basin.

Statistics on the major cause of fatalities in the Nigerian industry is also scarce and globally, contentious, but there seems to be agreement that accidents sustained during offshore drilling of oil and gas wells have resulted in the most fatalities. The rising incidence of fatalities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry also points to the fact that Health Safety and Environment (HSE) policy may be dwindling.