Document Type : Original Article
C/o Department of International and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus.
Oil and Gas exploration and exploitations have been ongoing for more than half a century in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). However, recent discoveries of oil and gas deposits deep offshore along the coast of the GoG has increased exploration activities. Removal of offshore installation is a rigorous and complicated process which needs stringent regulations to ensure environmental protection of marine life and ensure safety of navigation at sea among other issues. Therefore, as these oil and gas installations approach the end of their productive life, removal of these installations from the marine environment becomes inevitable. Consequently, the need for the existence of a regional legal framework or policy to govern the removal process within the GoG becomes imperative. Using the doctrinal approach, the paper examines treaty provisions which are binding on individual member States, as well as their obligations under the GoG Commission in relation to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf (GCS), the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 London Dumping Convention, and the 1981 Abidjan Convention. The paper finds that the absence of a regional protocol or legal framework on removal of offshore installations creates chaos for the marine environment when removal issues arise in the future along the coast of the GoG. It concludes by making recommendations for a regional legal framework to ensure the smooth removal of installations in the future.