The Status of Oil Pollution and Oil Pollution Control in the West and Central African Region

The Status of Oil Pollution and Oil Pollution Control in the West and Central African Region

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) |
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This report was prepared as a contribution to the development of the Action Plan for the West and Central African Region. One of its main objectives is to provide the Governments of the Region with an overview of the current status of oil production, transportation, pollution, and pollution control along the coasts of West and Central Africa.

Oil has become a strategic commodity because of its critical role in the maintenance of industrialized economies.  Because reserves tend to be concentrated in a few areas of the world, it has become especially strategic for some industrialized areas - Western Europe and Japan, for example - which consume more petroleum than they produce. That fluctuations in the supply or cost of supply can have resounding effects worldwide has been seen in the recent changing emphasis on levels of consumption and the development of alternative energy sources in countries which rely substantially on foreign imports. In addition, oil is a non-renewable resource, and, in most present uses, it is irreplaceable. Previously-dismissed efforts to reclaim or reprocess petroleum lost during spills or industrial use now are attempted not only because of economics - oil is too costly to waste - but also because of prudence - oil is too precious to waste. 

Besides the fact that the region has sizeable reserves, there are two particular reasons why West and Central African oil is of special interest to the rest of the world. Most resources have proven to be a high-quality light crude which gives greater gasoline yield after basic refining, and the low sulphur content is preferable to many  countries faced with increasingly stringent environmental standards...

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