RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARTICIPATORY DECISION-MAKING AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN OIL AND GAS PROJECTS
The rapid exploitation of petroleum oil and natural gas poses a significant environmental and ecological danger to the immediate environment owing to oil spills, effluent discharge and gas flaring. Furthermore, petroleum upstream activities present legal, political, economic, financial, technical and environmental problems. Participatory monitoring and evaluation have often been sidelined and in Africa where the oil drilling activities are booming, decisions are often made without any exhaustible effort to include inputs or views of those whose livelihoods stand to be negatively impacted by the oil and gas activities. The study sought to examine how participatory decision-making influences environmental sustainability. The study adopted the pragmatic paradigm which supports the mixed methods which was of interest to the researcher. The unit of analysis for this study were the stakeholders in the oil and gas upstream project in Turkana County, Kenya. The target population comprised of 549 participants distributed as follows:134 Tullow oil management employees, 226 Turkana community village households, 20 Turkana County government leaders, 14 Management staff at the Ministry of Energy and 65 Environmental NGOs. The study used stratified simple random sampling. From the linear correlation analysis, the findings reveal a strong positive relationship between participatory decision making and environmental sustainability of the oil and gas upstream project in Kenya. (Correlation coefficient 0.652**). The model’s goodness of fit measure suggested participatory decision making explain 53.1% of the total variation in environmental sustainability in the case oil and gas upstream project in Turkana County, Kenya. The study thus concluded that participatory decision makingg is a significant factor in ensuring environmental sustainability in the oil and gas upstream project in Turkana County, Kenya.
Key Words: Participatory Decision Making, Environmental Sustainability, Oil and Gas, Upstream Projects, Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation, Rapid Exploitation