More environmental impact after the oil company leaves?Ironically, in some cases the worst environmental problems do not actually occur while large oil companies are working in the region, but after they leave.
Let's look at Gamba. The major oil companies that are active in this high-biodiversity region, such as Shell, operate according to sound environmental standards.
But this may not last. When oil reserves will have become too marginal for these big companies, smaller ‘pioneer’ companies will take over operations. The problem is that these companies will not have the financial and technical capacity to keep up their predecessors' environmental and social management standards.
What we can expect? More risks of pollution and poor procedures for the decommissioning of oil sites are 2 potential results, but they are not the only ones.
How a range of social benefits could just dry upThe cessation of oil exploitation in Gamba could also bring to a halt:
- Boat transport that provide the extraction site and the people in the region with equipment, food and other resources,
- Operations of the gas field that provides electricity services,
- Private sector management of Gamba airport and guaranteed regular flights to the capital, providing a link to the world.
For the biodiversity of the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas, this would be very grim news.