In the past four weeks, Nigeria as recorded about 5 gas and pipeline explosions which claimed the lives of at least 40 people. These explosions have also left many injured and properties that worth thousands of naira destroyed. Some causes of these fire outbreaks and explosions have, however, been discovered, and strict measures are being put in place to tackle this problem.
The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Sarki Auwalu have given stringent guidelines for the establishments and operations of downstream gas facilities in Nigeria. The guidelines, to be carried out with immediate effect, were disclosed in a press release at Abuja yesterday.
Here are some reasons that prompted the DPR’s guidelines;
1. ILLEGAL OPERATIONS: It was discovered that certain gas companies were operating without licences. This led to carrying out operations and activities that are illegal, and ultimately resulted into frequent gas explosions. To curb this, the DPR has stated that gas companies must obtain approvals and licences, among others, before commencing operations. These includes Site suitability approval; Approval to Construct (ATC)/Approval to Install; and Licence to Operate.
2. POOR STANDARD OF HSE: Some gas establishments have defaulted in their ability to meet up with the baseline standard regarding Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), in their facilities. It has been revealed through the DPR’s guidelines that gas companies must provide necessary facilities and equipment’s like functional automated/manual leak tester, functional fire alarm system, and mounted gas detectors, adequate fire water storage and sprinklers, and perimeter fence with fire wall amongst others.
3. GAS PENETRATION:The slow rate of gas penetration has led to the reduction of operational safety as well as ease of doing business in the oil and gas sector.
The DPR is the regulator of the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria. The department has the statutory responsibility of ensuring compliance to petroleum laws, regulations and guidelines in the industry. These strict measures laid out by the regulatory body stems from various investigations carried out and information gathered by the regulatory body.