By Obas Esiedesa
Operators of illegal petrol stations and retail gas outlets have been given till the end of the first quarter of 2019 to regularize their operations and obtain valid licences.
The DPR Abuja Zonal Operations Controller, Mr. Audu Abba stated this at the Abuja Zone Annual Stakeholders meeting on Thursday with the theme: ‘Regulatory compliance as a veritable tool for safe and efficient operations in Nigeria’s oil and Gas Industry’.
According to him, non-compliance to statutory regulations in petroleum products storage depots, filling stations and LPG outlets had led to huge losses in investment, lives and degradation of the environment.
He said: “I must, however, stress here that a time frame has been set to first quarter of this year for owners of illegal outlets- filling stations and gas plants to regularize their facilities. DPR will take all necessary measures within the ambiance of the law on any illegal retail outlets that failed to regularize after the expiration of the grace period”.
He noted that DPR Abuja zone recorded many success last year, pointing out that effective sensitization and interactions with
stakeholders within the zone led to a drastic reduction in the number of incidence in the retail outlets.
He however admitted that the “illegal gas plant explosion in Lafia, Nasarawa State, was most unfortunate and DPR has taken drastic measures to prevent any re-occurrence of such ugly incidence”.
In his opening remarks, DPR Director, Mr. Mordecai Baba-Ladan said petroleum downstream operators were increasingly flouting Standard Operating Procedures in the sector.
Ladan stressed that flouting of operating procedures and refusal to comply with regulations and guidelines by operators has increased safety challenges in the downstream sector.
He warned that the DPR would use it constitutional powers to ensure oil and gas operators conform to national and international industry practices and standards.
He added that the DPR had automated its processes in line with the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.
“The DPR has made some new innovations in its operations in order to serve the public better and carry its statutory responsibilities more efficiently and effectively. One of the new innovations is the full implementation of online processing of downstream licenses, permits and approvals.
“These were achieved through the Retail Outlets Monitoring System (ROMS), Depots System (DEPOT), Import and Export Permit (IMPEX), Lube Blending Plant System (LBL), Coastal Vessel License System (CVL), and Refinery Operations System (RPL).
“The oil industry service permit application has also been automated through the Oil and Gas Industry Service Permit System (OGISP). What this means is that you can easily make applications from the comfort of your home, office or anywhere in the world”, he said.
On his part, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Downstream, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Henry Nkem Obih who declared the meeting open, commended DPR for improving their operations.
Nkem Obih who represented NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru at the event, charged operators to support DPR by complying with rules and regulations, pointing out that a mistake in the industry could whole business out.
He said that compliance with regulations would eliminate crisis in the industry and guarantee long-term viability of the industry.
“Challenges for the industry of this size would always be in getting all operators to fully comply with regulations.
“Compliance with regulations, we would say, is the biggest challenge in the industry today; just for people to do the right things according to various laws and regulations we have in the industry.”