Risk perception of oil operations of residents of oil-producing communities in Nigeria


Bolori, A. 2018. Risk perception of oil operations of residents of oil-producing communities in Nigeria. Thesis Middlesex University Decision Analysis and Risk Management
TitleRisk perception of oil operations of residents of oil-producing communities in Nigeria
AuthorsBolori, A.

Oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria believe they have been rendered vulnerable to impacts and risks of oil operations. Many studies have examined the environmental impacts of the operations, which stem from pollution caused by processes of exploration and production of the oil. This is reported to have social, economic, and health implications on the communities. The communities have demonstrated their outrage on the situation, including protests against the involved oil corporations. The corporations have employed some measures to deal with the risks, including cleaning up of the environment and providing development projects to counteract the difficulty. There is however, limited research on the risk perceptions of the communities, concerning their views on exposure to the risks, including management of the risks by the oil corporations. Thus, the aim of this study is to explore how residents of the oil-producing communities perceive risks of the oil operations. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is the methodology adopted in conducting the study, which focuses on participants’ experiences of a phenomenon and the meanings they attach to the experiences. This enabled the study to elicit how residents of the communities, while relating with their experiences regarding the oil operations, form their perceptions of risks of the operations. Residents of three communities in the ONELGA district in the Niger Delta, where onshore oil operations are carried out by Eni and Total were chosen for the study. Responses of the residents were gathered through individual interviews and focus group discussion. The residents have believed to be exposed to risks of food insecurity, income, health, and earthquake, due to the oil operations. They have explained the causes and factors of the risks, and how they may be affected by them. Their concern of the risks, however, has appeared not to be mainly influenced by the effects, but by their perceived inappropriate management of the risks by the oil corporations. They have suggested to accept the operations, if the risks will be managed from their viewpoints, by the corporations—for which the residents have specified certain measures. Their trust in the capability of the corporations to accordingly manage the risks has been found to be the key factor behind this. The findings of the study show the importance of the oil-producing communities’ risk perception of the oil operations and its implications on the oil corporations vis-à-vis managing the risks. This can also be useful for developing further research on risk perception of not only the communities in the Niger Delta but also others affected by oil operations.

Research GroupCentre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management (DARM)
Department nameDecision Analysis and Risk Management
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print16 Feb 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Feb 2018
Accepted14 Feb 2018
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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