By Ediri Ejoh, Oluchukwu Nkenta & Joseph Oso
THE Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, has threatened to sanction International Oil Companies, IOCs, and laboratory practitioners who flout regulatory standards in their operations.
This was even as stakeholders in the sector bemoaned operational difficulties occasioned by cost-cutting beyond profitable margin owing to crude oil price crunch at the International market. This was disclosed at the ongoing 2nd stakeholders’ laboratory workshop, tagged: “Accurate analytical data- The fulcrum for reliable scientific investigation”, held in Lagos.
Director, DPR, Mr. Mordecai Laden, said, “reports and data emanating from laboratories and environmental investigations guide policy and project design decisions which have far reaching effects on the ecosystem and our lives. It is therefore absolutely imperative that we cultivate the culture of diligence and quality in our practices.”
Represented by Deputy Director and Head, Safety, Health and Environment, DPR, Mrs. Sibeudu Caroline, Laden emphasised: “As we strive as a nation towards economic independence and sustainability, issues of quality take center-state and cannot be compromised.”
According to him, the industry, had in the past decade witnessed increased local participation in oil and gas activities, “thanks to the federal government’s deliberate policy and action plan through the Nigeria content Development drive. “The main challenge which is a general issue is the cost of the materials they use in doing the business and this has been affecting them. The costs are going up and the cost of doing business is almost static. That has been a major challenge for the laboratory operators. However, despite these challenges, we are trying to make sure the quality does not drop,” he said.
On his part, Manager Laboratory Services, DPR, Mr. Agada Onuminya, lamented huge neglect by oil companies and other operators, calling for workable and best practices in their laboratories. According to him, “some companies do not have quality staff who are practitioners in the laboratory fields. Some time ago, we discovered a company (not mentioned) which had sets of hired mass communication graduates working on laboratory. What do they know about the ethics involved?”
He noted that the DPR is focused on ensuring that the environmental consultants/laboratories in the Nigerian oil and gas industry conduct these services in line with internationally acceptable best practices.
Onuminya added that a bill already at the Senate, which was sponsored by the House Chairman on Environment, House of Representative, Obinna Chidoka, was aimed to establish the institute of environmental practitioners of Nigeria.
“Like I said, environmental issues are multi-faceted and thus concern everyone. Today we have environmental lawyers, scientists, engineers and other sectors. But for you to perform excellently in your field, you must have a requisite knowledge and also met some criteria’s which requires you writing exams.”