Recent developments in oil and gas exploration and exploitation have revealed great potential in the West African region. Countries such as Senegal and Mauritania are in the process of moving to the exploitation phase of a large cross-border gas field and could very soon join the small and coveted circle of large hydrocarbon producers in the region like the Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. The dynamism of the oil industry and the political will of the countries have accelerated the processes for the production of hydrocarbons, accompanied by numerous institutional and economic reforms. States have recognized the need to domesticate and control the processes of production and the control of production and the revenues that flow from them. For this, the strategic decision to strengthen the capacities of the administration and to train a critical mass of nationals in the gas and oil professions is being implemented in the countries.

However, strengthening the skills of stakeholders in terms of knowledge of environmental phenomena, risks and potential impacts of oil and gas activities on biodiversity and marine ecosystems does not yet appear to be part of the agenda. order of priorities. In addition, with regard to good practices in the sustainable management of natural resources, it is important to ensure the involvement of all stakeholders in the management of this emerging sector, in particular civil society and other non-state actors such as journalists, local elected officials, parliamentarians, etc. This involvement must be done in a responsible manner, by facilitating access to reliable and relevant information while strengthening the capacity of these stakeholders.

The complexity of offshore extractive operations often exceeds the skills of local stakeholders called upon to supervise, monitor, support or control oil and gas companies active in the emerging offshore hydrocarbon sector. In order to fill this gap, the Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Area in West Africa - PRCM in collaboration with its technical partners and the support of the MAVA Foundation has initiated an awareness-raising and advocacy program for sustainable management of oil and gas activities in West Africa. It aims to take into account environmental issues for the preservation of biodiversity and marine and coastal ecosystems on which the fisheries and tourism sectors and a large part of the economies of the countries depend in particular.

Finally, during the year 2019, the PRCM conducted several face-to-face workshops for the training of national executives, journalists and heads of civil society organizations and for raising awareness parliamentarians on the issues and challenges of offshore oil and gas activities. The logistical constraints advocating limiting the number of participants made it impossible to respond to the many expressions of interest that these training courses still continue to generate. The establishment of an open and massive online course commonly called MOOC for "Massive Open Online Course" - is presented as a very good alternative to reach the maximum number of people while mobilizing a large number of specialists in the field for the experience sharing.



This online course is part of the capacity building and awareness program for actors and the general public of the PRCM on the environmental management of offshore oil exploration and exploitation activities and gas. This course is implemented with the collaboration of "Institution to be identified". More specifically, this will involve: • Providing a platform for training, awareness-raising and advocacy on the environmental issues and challenges of oil and gas activities; • Raise awareness among stakeholders of the risks associated with offshore oil and gas activities; • Help the various stakeholders to better supervise their support and environmental management actions in this sector; • Provide stakeholders with useful tools for understanding the challenges of offshore oil and gas activities; • Facilitate a forum for the exchange of information between experts and stakeholders in the marine and coastal area on the issues of offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation.


This continuing education course is organized for the benefit of stakeholders in the expanding extractive industry composed of non-specialized actors but concerned with the management and impacts of the offshore hydrocarbon sector. These include state and non-state actors from various backgrounds: public services, local communities, leaders and members of associations and networks, journalists, students, etc. The participation of the following profiles is expected: • Executives from government institutions in charge of maritime surveillance, petroleum, fisheries, environment and tourism; • Executives from port authorities; • Managers of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); • Local elected representatives, parliamentarians, and members of economic, environmental and social councils in the countries; • Associations of fishing professionals; • Executives of national Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); • Technical staff from design offices • Journalists; • Students ; • Any citizen interested in the issue and having skills enabling him to follow the lessons.


At the level of the strategic partnership: • The MAVA Foundation which provides funding for the establishment of this MOOC At the level of the technical implementation partners • The GAED Master • The Gidel Master • The GI-WACAF • IDDRI


From an educational point of view, the courses which will be given during the MOOC must take into account the educational objectives below: with the challenges of developing the offshore hydrocarbon sector; • Strengthen the capacity of non-specialized actors concerned by the potential impacts of offshore hydrocarbons in terms of analyzes of the main types of impacts (environmental, social, economic, political) generated by offshore oil and gas exploration activities; • Make known and use the different types of tools to improve the management of these impacts. • Facilitate access to resources (books, reports, films, etc.) or to a community of actors to advance knowledge.


The MOOC will be developed around Five (05) modules capitalizing on the experience of face-to-face courses carried out in Mauritania and Senegal.
Module 1: Marine and coastal ecosystems and the services provided < br> Module 2: History, challenges and geopolitics of oil and gas activities
Module 3: Offshore oil and gas industry: characteristics, typology of activities and impacts
Module 4: Regulatory frameworks for offshore oil and gas activities
Module 5: Tools for environmental management of offshore oil and gas activities

Module 1: Marine and coastal ecosystems and the services provided

This module covers on marine and coastal ecosystems, the services provided by them and the integrated management of the marine and coastal zone. The purpose of this module is to give training participants an overview of the maritime environment (ecosystems, habitats, biodiversity, resources, etc.) and the ecological and socioeconomic services offered by marine and coastal ecosystems. The first step will be to describe and operate ecosystems. For educational reasons, we will choose a subdivision into two ecosystems: marine ecosystems (sub-module 1.1) and coastal ecosystems (sub-module 1.2). In each of the two sub-modules, we will attempt to demonstrate the variety of species, habitats, biodiversity, the fragility of ecosystems, and the interconnection of habitats. If habitats and species are relatively well conserved in Africa, this has come at the cost of enormous efforts, both by States and by populations involved in initiatives led by civil society and NGOs. However, these ecosystems remain fragile. The main environmental disturbance factors will be presented. In addition, we can cite unsustainable fishing practices, climate change, human attacks on coastal areas and various pollution linked to offshore gas and oil activities. Finally, the module will work to show the iimportance of ecosystems by exploring in detail the panoply of services provided in terms of food, regulation, disaster mitigation, natural, etc. by these ecosystems. The good health of marine and coastal ecosystems is therefore essential if we wish to continue to benefit from these services (sub-module 1.3).
NB: As a concrete example, a video presentation of the PNBA or the 'Bijagos Archipelago. A focus will be put on the global ecological importance, the ecosystem services and the economic value of these two ecosystems.
The sub-modules below are to be developed in module 2
• Sub-module 1.1: Description and functioning of marine ecosystems
• Sub-Module 1.2: Description and functioning of coastal ecosystems
• Sub-module 1.3: Importance of marine and coastal ecosystems and Services provided;

NB: we recommend to find presentation videos of Banc d'Arguin, Bijagos, etc. to show their richness and their vulnerability to pollution.
Module 2: History, challenges and geopolitics of oil and gas activities

Thanks to the improvement of technology and the scarcity of onshore hydrocarbons, there is a resurgence of offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities. This is the case in West Africa where offshore oil and gas exploration / exploitation has grown considerably in recent years. One of the objectives of this module is to retrace the main features of the history of the oil and gas industry, from the first discoveries of the mid-19th century to the present day in order to publicize the strategic transformations brought about by the advent hydrocarbons at the level of the global industrial economy. The presenter will focus on the role of the African continent in the international dynamic (sub - module 2.1). Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between development issues and the exploitation of natural resources. It will be a question of discussing with the participants the questions of geopolitics at the global and African level; to establish the dependencies of the world economy on oil; address the strategic choices for a sustainable management of hydrocarbons and the diversification of national economies; curse of natural resources; characteristics of the current context (sub-module 2.2). Another issue of the module will be to present the main characteristics of oil companies, the main players in the extractive arena and their relations with governments, the shares of profits from the exploitation of hydrocarbons, etc. (sub-module 2.3). The module should also make it possible to understand the value chain approach in the extractive industries (its components and transparency) and also introduce the various markets (financial, raw materials, etc.) and their operating mechanism (sub- module 2.4). Four sub-modules are therefore planned:
• Sub-module 2.1: History of hydrocarbons and main issues
• Sub-module 2.2: Geopolitics of oil and gas activities in the world
• Sub-module 2.3: Petroleum industry: characterization and organization at the international level and in the West African sub-region.
• Sub-module 2.4: Analysis of the value chain in the extractive industries

Module 3: Offshore oil and gas industry: characteristics, typology of activities and impacts

This module aims to help participants understand the different stages of an offshore oil or gas project from exploration to '' dismantling (including drilling and development) and their environmental, social and economic impacts. This module will include an introduction to the genesis of hydrocarbons (oil and gas geology) to explain the formation of petroleum, its geological environment and the signs of the existence of hydrocarbon resources (sub-module 3.1) This module should enable the participants of the training to discover and understand the main stages of the offshore hydrocarbon extraction process: exploration process (started after obtaining the exploration permit) and exploitation process (initiated after obtaining the concession of 'operation). We can note among others: geological and geophysical studies - exploration drilling, production, production drilling and extraction operations, storage treatment and loading / transfer, Transportation of oil and gas products offshore, dismantling of infrastructure at the end of the operation (sub-module 3.2). It will also present the significant risks as well as the environmental impacts associated with each step of the activity. The impacts should be described in a concise manner, ina causal relationship and the effects on other actors and sectors of activity highlighted, such as negative effects on fishing. Technical measures to mitigate these risks must be presented for each of its activities when they exist. The positive impacts, if they exist, should also be mentioned, for example the repopulation of fish around artificial reefs resulting from oil and gas infrastructures (sub-module 3.3). Within the framework of this module, the following sub-modules are proposed:
• Sub-module 3.1: the genesis of hydrocarbons (geology of hydrocarbons)
• Sub-module 3.2. : the main activities of the offshore oil and gas industry
• Sub-module 3.3: The main environmental risks and impacts associated with the oil and gas activities.

Module 4: Regulatory frameworks and for cooperation in offshore oil and gas activities

Due to the damage it is likely to cause to marine and coastal environments, the offshore oil and gas industry is subject to (national , regional and international) to make it possible to orient the strategic and technical choices of oil and gas projects in order to mitigate their impacts and make them compatible with the preservation of the marine and coastal environment. Indeed, it is recognized that unregulated oil and gas operations have marine habitats and undermine marine and coastal biodiversity. Their regulation by technological standards, environmental standards (emissions, discharges) and standards concerning environmental management processes is quite possible. The aim of this module is to present the regulatory frameworks intended to supervise the extractive industry from the study phases to abandonment within the framework of a vision of sustainable development based on good governance of the resources of the sectors. extractive (offshore fishing and hydrocarbons) and marine and coastal areas. As an introduction to the module, it is important to share with the participants the concepts which constitute the very foundations of the MOOC. Indeed, the importance given to the protection of the environment in economic and social activities, has its origin in the concept of sustainable development. This introductory module should therefore present the concept of sustainable development and highlight the essential elements that will make the offshore hydrocarbon extraction industry more of an economic opportunity rather than a threat for the countries that have it. (sub-module 4.1).
Next, the module will address the supranational legal framework for regulating the activities of the petroleum industry in compliance with environmental requirements and the specific frameworks established for the purposes of prevention, mitigation and compensation. in the event of damage (MARPOL, OPRC etc). It will be a question of sharing with the participants, the main conventions that regulate oil and gas activities. A window will also be opened on the conventions on the conservation of habitat, species and biodiversity in general (CBD Convention, Ramsar Convention) in order to compare these different conventions. To take into account the context of the sub-region, the additional protocol to the Abidjan Convention relating to offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities will be highlighted (sub-module 4.2). The legal and institutional framework of national regulation (national laws and codes, oil contracts, etc.) as well as the other public policy instruments governing oil activities remain the essential levers to which the actors of the oil and gas sector, the administrators as well as the citizens refer in the first place. Emphasis will be placed on production processes, the conditions for their relevance and efficiency and the need for their adaptation to national contexts. To make it more concrete and not to remain on generalities, this sub-module will be a presentation of the case of one of the countries of the sub-region (Senegal and / or Mauritania). (sub-module 4.3). Finally, it will be a question of highlighting the most relevant multilateral cooperation frameworks in the world allowing actors in the oil and gas industry, government actors and environmental civil society to cooperate (EITIE, Publish what you pay, IPIECA, GI-WACAF). These frameworks generate good practices or promote them. To this must be added the good practices which define the new environmental and social performance standards and which may under certain conditions have effects on national projects (example of the norms and standards of the International Finance Corporation, etc.). Finally, the mains environmental norms and standards in the management of offshore oil and gas activities will be highlighted. (module 4.4). NB: Particularly for the sub-region on the Atlantic coast, the resources will include an introductory video and links on GIWACAF and the COBIA initiative. Within the framework of this module, the following modules are offered:
• Sub-Module 4.1 Sustainable development
• Sub-module 4.2: Supranational regulatory frameworks
• Sub-module 4.3: Framework national legal and institutional
• Sub-module 4.4: multilateral cooperation frameworks: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), voluntary standards and codes (IPIECA,)

Module 5 : Tools for environmental management and monitoring of offshore oil and gas activities

The module will address two types of important tools in the management of oil and gas activities: planning and development tools marine and coastal space on the one hand and environmental management and monitoring tools on the other. A sub-module will be dedicated to tools for managing and monitoring the state of the environment following petroleum activities (observation systems, measurements of biochemical indicators, etc.). This will focus on the need for a regular monitoring system of the marine and coastal environment, the relevant tools for monitoring and managing the quality of oceans, ecosystems and marine species. For example, we will focus on the marine and coastal environment monitoring system implemented in Mauritania by IMROP and in Senegal with CRODT as part of the COBIA initiative. (sub module 5 .1). We will also discuss the various environmental assessment tools from the impact notice to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as the management tools to be carried out beforehand on the site. basis of international standards and their evolutions. These tools are recognized by most environmental codes in the sub-region and applicable to all large-scale projects according to their categories. This module will give participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the tools, the citizen participation processes that they require and how they are essential for decision-making (sub-module 5.2). Finally, the last one will present the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP), the Environmental Management System and the environmental audits to be implemented, following the EIA, to monitor, assess and mitigate the impacts of the industry. offshore extractive petroleum (particularly in fisheries and the marine and coastal environment). The ESMP calls for specific measures to be taken to prevent risks or mitigate impacts. It will then be highlighted the need for their alignment with the risks and impacts identified in the EIAs, SEAs. (sub module 5.3). Finally, the different aspects of the preparation and response to oil spills will be presented. Indeed, despite the good legal provisions to regulate exploration and exploitation actions, they do not protect against accidental spills for which oil-producing countries must be prepared. Emergency response plans are tools that prepare countries to fight pollution in the event of accidental spills. It will discuss control techniques in coastal or at sea under module 5.4. Within the framework of this module, the following courses are offered:
• Sub-module 5.1: Observation systems for the state of the sea environment
• Sub-module 5.2: Approaches and environmental assessment tools: Impact statement, Environmental impact study (EIA), environmental audit, Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (EESS), etc.
• Sub-module 5.3: Approaches and tools for managing environment: Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP),
• Sub-module 5.4: marine pollution management emergency plans

Last modified: Friday, 4 March 2022, 12:50 PM