FG assessing environmental impact of oil tanks in residential areas – DG, NOSDRA

Chuks Oyema-Aziken

The Federal Government has again expressed it’s concern over the citing of oil tank farms in residential areas.

Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Idris Musa, disclosed this at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday.

The briefing was in relation to Thursday inferno that gutted the Oando farm tank in the Apapa area of Lagos State.

Musa said there is already a recommendation to relocate the tank farms to safer areas.

“They were erected when they was no human presence around.

He said the recent inferno may have awaken the Lagos State government on need to relocate the tank farms.

Thursday fire consumed a total of 7 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol at the farm.

The DG noted that impact of the fire incident would have been disastrous but for the quick intervention of the relevant agencies, which arrived at the scene to tackle the inferno and brought it under control.

“The situation is such that on Sunday last week, the tank farm received consignment of petroleum. Yesterday was thursday. That was six days after the consignment was received. There was a sudden fire in the tank.

“That capacity of that tank is 10million litres but the quantity of PMS in it at that point in time was 7million litres and that is a huge quantity.

“Of course, you would have seen on social media and the television stations yesterday the raging fire and that is how volatile it is. Immediately it happened, the company informed us and immediately our office in Lagos zonal of the NOSDRA swung into action.

“We have informed all the necessary stakeholders. OPTS was consulted, Oil Producer Section of Lagos Chamber of commerce and industry, we contacted them because some of them have interest in this and secondly, they could assist with asset that can be deployed to see how this can be immediately contained,.

“That is making sure that this fire it has happened, but it does not extend. For those of you who are aware of Lagos like Kirikiri and Apapa areas, we have so many tank farms there and if care is not taken to respond on time, quite a number of hazards can occur and that will engulf the entire Apapa area as well as Kirikiri jetty because you know how fire travels, the kind of products that are stored there.

“We have AGO- Automatic Gas Oil (Diesel), DPK-Dual Purpose Kerosene, APK-Aviation Purpose Kerosene, and PMS and inter twin, we have Liquefied Petroleum Gas plant and that tells you explosion can happen and when it happens with the terrain in that area it will shake every building there to its foundation.

“We were able to get some assistance from a number of stakeholders even from those that are not directly involved in the petroleum products business.

“We are still at the site ensuring that all that needs to be done is done because in this matter, you need to study the situation and the guide as to what needs to be done at the right time.

“The purpose of these press briefing is to inform you yes there is fire yesterday at that that tan farm but it is under control and expect that by the grace of God it will not spread to other parts.

The other downstream sector, the mainstream that has tank farm have also taken into consideration and put in place there contingency plan. All oil industries are expected to have oil spill contingency plan.

“All the relevant stakeholders were present yesterday. We must appreciate the effort of everybody including the oil companies itself who has taken it up to respond adequately.”

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