Business a.m.

New safety guidelines for downstream oil operators in Rivers

DPR backs safety framework with MISTDO Collaborat­es with ACEP, RSU

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Given the recent spate of oil downstream incidents in the country, especially in Lagos which caused huge economic losses, and the need to avert similar occurrence­s in Rivers, a state that houses about 60 percent of facilities of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, the state ministry of energy and natural resources has issued reviewed safety guidelines to oil downstream operators in the state.

Nigeria’s history of downstream operations is prone with incidents with varying degrees of fatalities. Data from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) indicate that there are 95 documented incidents with 125 fatalities as of December 2020.

According to Peter Medee, the commission­er for energy and natural resources, cases of downstream sector incidents have been graciously minimal, but with increasing human activities in the sector, he said there was urgent need to rein in things to avert similar human and property catastroph­e.

In Rivers State, there are over 700 fully operationa­l filling stations, about 200 active liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refilling plants and 25 depots. All these require risk-prone operations due to the presence of highly flammable petroleum products, fumes, high pressure gas and static electricit­y. Perhaps, the state’s biggest fatal fire incident was the 23 January 2021 incident at Adrose Gas Company Ltd, an LPG refilling plant which claimed four lives. The incident was due to venting operation after discharge, and poor adherence to safety practices.

The state energy and natural resources ministry is collaborat­ing with the DPR, African Centre for Environmen­tal Protection (ACEP) and the Rivers State University’s Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Centre (SDC) to sensitize stakeholde­rs and operators in the downstream sector to comply with safety standards and enforcemen­t status. The DPR is backing the framework with its Minimum Industry Safety Training for Downstream Operations (MISTDO).

At a workshop in the state university’s amphitheat­re, operators drawn from filling stations, LPG refilling plants, products depot owners (PDOAN), petroleum tanker drivers (PTDs), NUPENG and tank farm cleaners and hydro-plastics associatio­n (TCHAN) were sensitized to, henceforth, ensure minimum industry safety standards.

Meanwhile, Nlerum Sunday Ofogbule, a professor and vice chancellor of RSU, announced the establishm­ent of a MISTDO centre in the university for training of downstream sector operators on safety guidelines adherence.

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