Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has given operators of gas, petroleum, and diesel nine days within which to obtain their operating licenses or face shutdown of their operations.
The Authority Chief Executive (ACE), Mr Farouk Ahmed, said this in Abuja on Monday at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on Gas Utilisation in Nigeria.
Ahmed said that the ultimatum had become necessary in order to foster a compliance culture that would guarantee a safer and sustainable environment for operation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ahmed was represented by Executive Director, Health Safety Environmental and Community, NMDPRA, Dr Mustapha Lamorde.
He said that the engagement was aimed at encouraging large consumers of petroleum products not only to operate within the regulatory space but also to become aware of the comparative advantages.
The ACE said that the advantage would be between different fuels, particularly gas which had been designated as Nigeria’s transition fuel, signposting the pathway to energy security.
“It is in this regard that the Federal Government has put in place various initiatives and policy framework, including National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) and the Decade of Gas Programme (DOGP).
“It is, therefore, our hope that this engagement will create the necessary arrangement and make the compelling case for industry operators to foster a compliance culture which guarantees safer and sustainable facilities,” he said.
Ahmed said that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021 had established, within the authority, the Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund to catalyse gas investments.
According to him, the efforts are yielding significant results, adding, however, that more collaborations and interventions are still needed to improve domestic gas utilisation.
The Executive Director, of Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, Mr. Ogbugo Ukoha, said that the engagement’s objective was to enlighten end-users on the need to urgently obtain the requisite petroleum storage license.
According to him, the engagement is also targeted at engendering the transition from white products to gas at the last mile.
“The authority is ready and committed to shutting down any operator who refused to comply with the authority.
“The authority will kick off with ‘operation no licence, no loading’ from June 1, 2023.
“So, you still have about nine days to do the needful by obtaining the licence to obtain the licence is faster if you follow the right process.
“It is illegal and punishable to store and use diesel, petrol and gas products, with capacities equivalent of 500 litres and above without licence. Such facilities must be regularised and licensed,” he said.
Ukoha said that the authority’s 12 gazetted regulations defined the licensing regimes, procedures and standards for handling petroleum products which, when breached, could pose increased risks.
He said that gas, as the transition fuel, represented a cleaner and more cost-effective energy source.
According to him, we encourage operators and businesses to take advantage of the evolving opportunities in the gas value chain.
“This is for sustainable business growth by positioning their energy needs to embrace gas derivatives (LNG, LPG, CNG, Autogas, Propane, and Butane) in order to hedge against future global uncertainties to diesel supply,” he said.
Ukoha urged all the petroleum products handlers to fully comply with the provisions of the PIA and NMDPRA regulations to avoid strong regulatory enforcement, which might adversely impact business operations.
He said that the authority’s mandate was to enhance the growth of the industry.
The executive director further stated that the support and collaboration of operators and businesses were needed to achieve a safer and cheaper energy operating environment.
Group Head, of Oil and Gas Group, Bank of Industry, Hajia Nafisa Sambo-Bashari, said that the industry’s aim was to promote and assist the industrial sector of the economy in the country.
Sambo-Bashari said the industry was essentially and largely contributory to the nation-building policies of both the government and businesses that relied solely on financing various productions.
She said that the industry was fully in support of the nation’s economic growth, adding that the engagement was to enlighten the stakeholders on gas utilisation.