NMDPRA considers suspension, revocation of erring petrol marketers’ licences
• Raises concerns over integrity of NNPC Retail infrastructure
The Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) yesterday, said it might suspend the operations of petroleum products marketers or revoke their licences due to breach of Health, Safety Environment and Community (HSEC) guidelines.
The NMDPRA, in a statement, said fuel stations must report fire incidents in their premises within 24 hours of such occurrence or face sanctions.
The authority said it would impose sanctions on erring operators ranging from fines to suspension of operation/revocation of license.
The director, Health, Safety Environment and Community (HSEC) department of the Authority, Nsikak Bassey, who handed down the directive during a meeting with the safety team of NNPCL retail business said reports of such incidents must reach the regulator within 48 hours.
Bassey said: “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.”
Operators of facilities must, according to him, ensure integrity tests are conducted on Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) as enshrined in Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) 2018.
The director charged the NNPCL Retails to ensure it ascertains the integrity status of a facility before takeover or acquisition.
Bassey revealed that the NNPC retail business contributed 18 per cent of incidents in the past three years to operational hazards and also contributed 14 per cent of incidents in 2022 alone and second highest number of incidents in 2022 and 2023
He decried that there is a widespread non-reporting of incidents by operators, adding that operators sometimes fail to ground (earthing) underground storage testing and vehicle tankers before discharging.
Concerning NNPCL retail business, Bassey said the company sometimes fails to carry out pre-requisite audits and knowledge of the integrity status of retail outlets upon taking over or acquisition.
He frowned at the failure of NNPCL Retail to determine the quality of the soil -corrosive or non-corrosive soil – before tank burial and failure to report observed leaks from the Underground Storage Tank as enshrined in the Authority’s guidelines.
In his response, General Manager, Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Quality (HSSEQ) of NNPCL Retail, Dr. Oyet Gogomery said the company treats safety issues with utmost care and adheres strictly to safety guidelines.
He urged the Authority to give the management time to address safety issues raised in the safety audit query.