Crude oil exploration in Africa: socio-economic implications, environmental impacts, and mitigation strategies



Adeola AO, Akingboye AS, Ore OT, Oluwajana OA, Adewole AH, Olawade DB, Ogunyele AC.


Environ Syst Decis. 2021 Aug 12:1-25. doi: 10.1007/s10669-021-09827-x. Online ahead of print.


Crude oil exploration is a source of significant revenue in Africa via trade and investment since its discovery in the mid-19th Century. Crude oil has bolstered the continent’s economy and improved the wellbeing of the citizenry. Historically, Africa has suffered from conflicts due to uneven redistribution of crude oil revenue and severe environmental pollution. Advancements in geophysical survey techniques, such as magnetic and gravity methods, to seismic methods, have made the commercial exploration of crude oil possible for some other countries in Africa apart from Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt. The occurrence of organic-rich, oil-prone Type I, II, and mixed II/III kerogens in sedimentary basins and entrapment within reservoir rocks with intrinsic petrophysical properties are majorly responsible for the large deposits of hydrocarbon in Africa. The unethical practices by some multinational oil corporations have resulted in social movements against them by host communities and human rights groups. The unscrupulous diversion of public funds, award of oil blocks, and production rights to certain individuals have impaired economic growth in Africa. The over-dependence on crude oil revenues has caused the economic recession in oil-producing countries due to plummeting oil prices and global pandemic. Most host communities of crude oil deposits suffer from a lack of infrastructure, arable soils, clean water, and their functioning capabilities are violated by crude oil exploratory activities, without adequate compensations and remedial actions taken by oil companies and the government. Thus, this review examines crude oil exploration in Africa and provides insight into the environmental and socio-economic implications of crude oil exploration in Africa. Furthermore, this report highlights some recommendations that may ensure ethical and sustainable practices toward minimizing negative impacts and improving the quality of life in affected communities. CI – © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2021.

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Link/DOI: 10.1007/s10669-021-09827-x