Formulation of an environmental management plan in Ghana – a case study

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The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) is the only company responsible for the transportation, storage and supply of petroleum products (gasoline (petrol), diesel (gas oil) and kerosene) in Ghana as well as managing the country’s strategic stocks of petroleum products. BOST transports these products from Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), using pipelines, ocean vessels, river barges, rail and tank trucks, to eight depots located strategically across the country (Accra Plains, Mami Water, Akosombo, Takoradi (2 depots), Kumasi, Buipe and Bolgatanga). From these eight depots the petroleum products are supplied to all the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the country (viz Shell, Elf, Mobil, Goil, Unipetrol, Total, Star, Allied Oil Company and Engen Ghana Ltd.) for retail to users. BOST started operating in 1993 when there was no statutory obligation in Ghana to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (ETA), provide Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and obtain Environmental Permit (EP) prior to commencement of operations as is the case today. Under the Energy Commission Law (Act 541), BOST is now required to undertake ETA of its depots and present an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the Energy Commission (BC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana. The main objective of this research is therefore, to formulate an Environmental Management Plan for BOST within the current Ghanaian Environmental Impact Assessment procedures. To this end, the physical environment, facilities and operations of all the eight depots of BOST in Ghana have been studied. The potential environmental impacts of BOST operations have been identified to be air pollution by organic vapours, obnoxious gases and dust; water pollution by the discharge of oil contaminated effluents from the depots into the natural drainage; soil degradation by oil spills and leaks; noise generation by pumps and tank trucks; and fire outbreak resulting from ignition of petroleum products. The environmental impact preventive and mitigative measures that have already been put in place by BOST at its depots have been audited and shortcomings at some of the depots outlined. After assessing the current environmental impacts of the depots, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) has been drawn to provide a comprehensive environmental impact preventive and mitigative measure at all the depots of BOST.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy degree in Mining Engineering, 2001