From Ayodele Samuel,Lagos
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, yesterday directed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to compel oil and gas companies to provide Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for their staff.
Alison-Madueke speaking at the ongoing 16th International Health Safety and Environment Biennial Conference on the oil and gas industry in Nigeria tagged “Innovative Approach Towards Emerging Safety Challenges’’ said that absence of adequate literature such as SoP in respect of complex facilities being operated by relatively inexperienced workers has been the major causes of incidents and accidents.
Alison-Madueke who was represented by a Director in DPR, George Osahan said that companies would not only be compelled to provide adequate literature for their staff, DPR will also carry out routine Technical Safety Review to ensure compliance.According to her, a review of the number and nature of accidents in the last few years confirmed genuine belief that safety control in the industry is not only necessary but needs new approaches and emphasis.She said, “Vision 2020 seems to be on course as Nigeria was recently declared the largest economy in the Africa, most of which is nonetheless predicated on the oil and gas industry.
“The position of Nigeria as major player in the oil and gas industry is however threatened by security challenges which has made oil theft and pipeline vandalism a common topic of discussion among industry players.’’ Alison-Madueke said that the conference is being held against the background of much heightened and improved safety awareness by Nigerians.She said that the petroleum industry worldwide is dynamic and highly organised through its advanced standards, codes of practice and control system, adding that in Nigeria, control of the industry is founded on legal framework that are predicated on international standard.
She continued, “In furtherance of government at deepening the participation of indigenous investors in the sector, the president has graciously approved the establishment of a Modular Refinery, an initiative that would soften local supply of petroleum products, especially kerosene which does not require elaborate technology to produce.
“It is the believe of government that the short project cycle, low cost and flexibility for establishing modular refineries would encourage proper investment in refinery operation and minimize crude oil theft and operation of artisanal refineries.
“In this regard, aspiring modular refinery operators would be scrutinized and granted license to install and operate such facilities,’’ she added.
The minister said that the ministry on its part will continue to set agenda that will guarantee effective safety of operations and suitable environmental development at all times.
Mr George Osahan, Director, DPR during his welcome address said that the topic as chosen to raise consciousness and contemporary issues on effective safety controls in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Osahan said that the agency will continually work with industry stakeholders to put forward such policies that will ensure long-term protection and sustenance of a safe working environment by keeping pace with novel industry trends and technologies.
According to him, the number and frequency of oil spills was actually on the decrease before the recent hike in pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft. “DPR has successfully instituted appropriate environmental performance evaluation mechanism to determine the extent of compliance on the part of operating companies.
“It is our conviction that your continue contributions to HSE initiatives will reposition the industry and move HSE pursuit to higher levels. “On our part we will continue to encourage co9ntributions towards increased development HSE competence and practices in the Nigerian oil and gas industry”, he said.