The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has raised an alarm over the high level of non-compliance to its regulations in the energy sector. The Zonal Operations Controller, DPR Lagos, Wole Akinyosoye, at the 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, criticised that the downstream sector is lagging behind in both safety and compliance issues.
He noted that compared to the upstream, the downstream operations take place mostly in high populated areas, among ordinary folks, who oftentimes are untrained and unaware of the real dangers posed by oil and gas operations. He explained that the situation has created a lot of non-compliance in the sector, making it one of the major challenges faced by the Department in the execution of its mandate.
“Safe practices should be the copestone of all operations in a volatile sector such as oil and gas, where accidents often lead to loss of lives and equipment, hence the imperative for safe operations in the downstream sector is especially important,” he added.
Citing some measures taken by the department to ensure safety in the downstream sector, Akinyosoye remarked that as a way of ensuring safety, “any time we discover consequent management, stations are closed, licenses are withdrawn and in very extreme cases, people are taken to court.” The Director, DPR, Modecai Ladan, said this year’s theme, “Safety: Our Joint Responsibility,” was timely and apt, in view of the emerging safety challenges in petroleum products handling.
He pointed out that these issues are occasioned by the failure of operators to adhere to standard operating procedures, the process of cutting corners and profiteering. Ladan, who was represented by the Head, Downstream, DPR, Usman Danusa, observed that the fact safety needs to be deeply entrenched as a key driver in the operating environment is further underpinned by recorded upsurge in petroleum products handling facilities. These include Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) downloading stations, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling plants, and skid mounted LPG Adorn in retail outlets.
Meanwhile, Akinyosoye advanced that although the zone has recorded significant successes like uninterrupted period of stable supply of major petroleum products among others, it wasn’t devoid of some challenges like adulterated lubricants.
He maintained that the issue of adulterate lubricants cannot be overcome as long as DPR isn’t the only regulator of import licences for base oil, which is used for lubricants.
He noted that as far as democratisation of importation of base oil is allowed, the problem would continue to loom. “People import base oil into the country under the disguise of cosmetic production.”
He however proffered that to address the challenge; there is the need to go back to the regime where the import of base oil was only approved by DPR, this way, the Department would be able to monitor the material balance from cradle to grave.
“Base oil is a refinery product, it is an oil and gas activity, therefore the DPR charter covers that, but the reverse is the case,” Akinyosoye said.