By Yemie Adeoye
THE Federal Government has announced that it would no longer be business as usual for oil and gas operators that ignores industry safety standards in the course of their operations, as it would no longer tolerate such act, which is tantamount to violation of the provisions of part 11, regulation 18 of the Mineral Oils (Safety) Regulations (MOSR) 2007.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia made this pronouncement at the official commissioning of the Falck Prime Atlantic Limited ultra modern training center in Ipara, Ogun State recently.
The minister said: â€œI have directed through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in a letter to all exploration and production companies, service companies, refineries and petrochemical companies and marketers that any person(s) employed/engaged to carry out duty/operations/services in the oil and gas industry directly or indirectly and in the offshore and/or swamp region(s) of Nigeria shall undergo all necessary and relevant basic offshore safety training(s) before embarking on such a duty/operation/service.
â€œI want to now address the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and oil and gas service companies to comply strictly with the provisions of the regulation, which will be measured base on the level of patronage of the facility. With the regulation in place, I do not see why the facility will not be all year round. I will direct DPR to request that Falck Prime Atlantic submits the numbers of trainees that are trained monthly by various companies and will be one of our yard sticks to measure compliance with the regulation.â€
This regulation, he said, would seek to ensure the maintenance of high Health Safety Environmental (HSE) standards and practice, which involves a lot of care, effort and considerable resources. The returns, he described as unfettered productivity, morale of the work force and social capital to the entire nation.
Ajumogobia said, the world class facility was timely in this regard, and it would support and provide training capabilities that would enhance the safety the offshore workers, as Nigeria explores and exploits her deep and ultra deep water reserves for hydrocarbons, in a bid to meet the ever increasing global demand and the national objective of producing 40 million barrels of crude oil per day.
The minister however, described the development as a dividend of the local content policy, urging other indigenous companies to emulate the project.
The Executive Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, who was extremely exited about the development, said there are still may more opportunities for oil and gas operators in the Gateway state.
He said: â€œTraining, either formal or informal remains a fundamental of productivity, but unfortunately, our system has given more priority to degrees and certificates without much emphasis on training. What Falck Prime has done today gave me confidence that we are gradually getting there.â€
Noting that his administration has put up some measures to improve training and development, Daniel pledged his commitment to continue to provide sufficient enlightenment and adequate training facilities to contribute to the stateâ€™s development and the county at large.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Falck Atlantic, Mr. Allan Sogard Larsen said commended the federal government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for their dedication to the Nigerian content initiatives, which he said has created the opportunity for local and foreign investment that is evident by the establishment of the world class training center.
He however reaffirmed the companies belief in Nigeria despite he global recession, adding that the facility had already gained student from Ghana, Gabon and Maritania, and expects more from various African countries.
The Group General Manager, Nigerian Content Department of the NNPC, Mr. Ernest Nwapa described the development as a â€œgigantic strideâ€ for Nigerian content development, hoping that the Petroleum Industry Bill would foster an aggressive pursuance of the initiative.