By Ernest Chinwo
The Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) has said it would not allow tank farms operating in the country to compromise its safety regulations.
The Operations Controller, Port Harcourt Zone of DPR, Mr Bassey Nkanga, made the declaration in Port Harcourt, after a tour of tank farms by the ad hoc committee of the DPR on relocation of tank farms from residential areas.
“DPR would continue to improve, we talk safety and safety is our watchword, the oil and gas industry knows that our vision on safety cannot be compromised.
“But in event of lapses, we allow room for correction until required compliance level is met in terms of minimal safety requirements,” he said.
The DPR boss also revealed that none of the tank farm operators within his jurisdiction was completely adamant to the safety regulations of the establishment.
“So far, what we saw today is quite commendable. The few lapses detected could be improved upon and I believe that affected companies would make necessary improvements soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Sergius Age, has said there was need for collaboration amongst relevant agencies.
“When we started this task some months back, the various agencies were actually at each other’s throats but today, there’s a better cooperation amongst them.
“And I believe that by the time we shall be presenting our reports, they will all be working in synergy,” he added.
He said, “Our emphasis has always been on safety compliance. We look forward to collaboration amongst relevant agencies such as the federal fire service, Nigeria Ports Authority, federal Ministry of Environment, NIMASA and others.
“We are determined to ensuring that operating tank farms conform to operational guidelines of the DPR.
“From our findings today, one of the facilities we inspected, we saw about 24 storage tanks sited at close range, we observed issues with their offset, that’s too close.
“This simply means that all storage tanks are exposed to possible danger if there’s an incident of fire outbreak.
“And for others, the water sprinklers were not optimally functional and the hydrants were not also as forceful as we expected.
“Accident does not just happen, it is caused. So for a peculiar facility like this, operators should be fully ready for optimal rescue in events of accidents.
“Some of these accidents can even occur after official hours, so there should be mechanisms to effectively manage such situation.”