With the recent spate of gas-related incidents, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has released fresh guidelines for the establishment and operations of downstream gas facilities across the country.
This is coming days after the latest gas explosion at Baruwa, Ipaja, Lagos, which claimed about five lives and destroyed over 25 buildings and shops.
In a statement, Director of the agency, Mr Sarki Auwalu, stated that with the new guidelines, companies seeking to establish gas-dispensing facilities would be required to obtain three approvals and licences, and put in place a number of measures, before commencing operations.
Mr Auwalu stated that the guidelines stipulated the minimum requirements, procedures and conditions to be fulfilled before the grant of approvals or licences for the construction, installation, modification, takeover, relocation and operations of downstream gas facilities in Nigeria.
According to him, these include guidelines for the establishment and operations of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), refilling plants and retail outlets; guidelines for the establishment of autogas refuelling stations and add-on gas facility; and guidelines for the establishment of gas storage and utilization.
The DPR Director explained that the guidelines were developed to enhance gas penetration and utilisation, enhance operational safety as well as ease of doing business in the oil and gas sector.
He said: “Companies intending to establish these facilities must satisfy all necessary requirements stipulated by DPR and obtain the listed applicable approvals: Site suitability approval; Approval to Construct (ATC)/Approval to Install; and Licence to Operate.
“Necessary amenities and equipment like functional automated/manual leak tester, functional fire alarm system, and mounted gas detectors, adequate fire water storage and sprinklers, perimeter fence with firewall amongst others must be provided in the facilities.”
He added that the objectives of the guidelines were to ensure that the baseline standard regarding health, safety and environment (HSE) was achieved and maintained in all the facilities and that further details can be accessed from the department’s website, www.dpr.gov.ng, by stakeholders and investors alike.
Furthermore, Mr Auwalu disclosed that the DPR had commenced an investigation into the unfortunate gas fire incident in Lagos as he also commiserated with victims of the explosion.
He explained that preliminary reports from DPR investigations revealed that the facility was operating without licences and was carrying out illegal operations which resulted in the unfortunate incident.
He promised that the DPR would continue to update the public on the progress of its ongoing investigation into the incident while assuring that the department will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure safe operations of all oil and gas facilities in Nigeria.