Due to violations of the Health, Safety, Environment, and Community (HSEC) standards, the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) threatened Wednesday to suspend or cancel the licenses of petroleum product marketers.
In a statement, the NMDPRA stated that fuel stations must notify any fires that occur on their property within 24 hours of the incident in order to avoid penalties.
The authority declared that it will penalize negligent operators with fines and license suspensions or revocations among other measures.
The direction was given by Nsikak Bassey, director of the Authority’s Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) department, at a meeting with the NNPCL retail business’ safety team. He stated that reports of such events must reach the regulator within 48 hours.
Bassey stated: “In our effort at preventing fire outbreaks within petrol products’ filling stations across the country, the Authority expects timely reporting of incidents to the nearest NMDPRA office within 24 hours and the Authority Chief Executive (ACE) within 48 hours. Managements of stations must refrain from tampering with evidence after incidents and must develop and strictly implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for all operations such as discharging and dispensing. They must also provide adequate firefighting equipment for all facilities as well as enlist staff in MISTDO training.”
According to him, facility operators are required to follow the 2018 Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) by conducting integrity checks on Underground Storage Tanks (USTs).
The director instructed NNPCL Retails to make sure that it investigates the facility’s integrity status before taking control of or acquiring it.
According to Bassey, the NNPC retail business was responsible for 14% of operational hazard-related occurrences over the past three years, 16% of incidents in 2022 alone, and the second-highest number of accidents in 2022 and 2023.
He lamented that operators frequently fail to notify issues, and he said that they occasionally fail to ground (earth) truck tanks and underground storage testing before discharging.
Bassey claimed that when NNPCL acquires or takes over a retail business, the corporation occasionally neglects to perform the necessary audits and have knowledge of the integrity status of the acquired retail shops.
He scowled at NNPCL Retail for failing to assess the soil’s quality—corrosiveness or lack thereof—before burying the tank and for failing to notify the Authority of any noticed leaks from the underground storage tank.
Dr. Oyet Gogomery, general manager of NNPCL Retail’s Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Quality (HSSEQ), responded by stating that the company takes safety concerns with the highest attention and adheres carefully to safety regulations.
He advised the Authority to give the management time to address safety issues revealed in the safety audit enquiry.