By Oke Peter
Stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas sector on Thursday, in Abuja, called for collaborative measures to end sharp practices that could undermine safety of lives, investments and properties in the country.
The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Honourable Joseph Akinlaja; Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mordecia Ladan; the Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Abuja, Audu Abba and others, made the call at the Annual General stakeholders Meeting of the DPR, Abuja Zone.
Indeed, DPR disclosed that government would clampdown on operators and ensures that owners of illegal outlets, particularly fillings station and gas plants regularize their facilities before the end of first quarter this year.
Speaking at the event, Baru, who was represented by NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Henry Nkem Obih said strict compliance was necessary to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize the growth of the nation’s oil sector and the economy in general.
Baru said though the regulators have improved significantly, there was need for continuous improvement in the sector.
He stressed that all operators must take necessary actions that would support the regulators in enforcing compliance in the industry.
Ladan said the country is shifting towards developing better industry standards, which would ensure environmental preservation, quality, safe operation and adherence to lay down regulations and guidelines.
He said challenges in the downstream sector arising from the failure of some operators to obey standard operating procedures (SOP) and comply with regulations and guidelines require urgent attention.
Ladan disclosed that the full implementation of online processing of downstream licenses, permits and approvals has improved the operations of the agency and ease challenges for operators.
“DPR has created new offices to provide wider coverage of its activities and bring us closer to our stakeholders. These offices are Lafia office which covers Nasarawa State Jalingo office covering Taraba State, Osogbo office in charge of Osun State and Awka office covering Anambra State. We believe that creation of these offices will save our stakeholders the stress of travelling long distances before accessing our services,” he said.
Also speaking at the event tagged: “Regulatory Compliance as a Veritable Tool for Safe and Efficient Operations in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry,” Akinlaja lauded DPR, stating that the agency has witnessed a level of transformation by taking advantage of technology to ease operators’ challenges.
He said the national assembly would conclude in its efforts to ensure Petroleum Industry Bill is passed.
The lawmaker said the level of petroleum explosion from pipelines and tankers require urgent attention by the stakeholders in the sector.
Abba said DPR Abuja zone has recorded tremendous success during the year under review, adding that effective sensitization and interactions with stakeholders within the zone have led to a drastic reduction in the number challenges in retail outlets.