By Prince Okafor
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Tuesday, shutdown seven Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, plants, popularly known as cooking gas in Lagos even as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, arrested ten employees of the sealed plants.
Vanguard gathered that the plants were shut due to non-compliance with operating standard, illegal operating license, plants stationed under high tension electrical wire, proximity to residential building, amongst others.
The sealed plants include Banner gas, Lekki, Darison gas plant, Elegushi, Spade Energy Limited and Polax Gas, both in Gbagada, Pivot Cooking Gas Bariga, Auto Gas, amongst others.
Speaking on the sideline of the surveillance by the DPR, the Zonal Operations Controller of the department in Lagos, Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, said his team came on surveillance assignment because the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, has declared this year as the Year of Gas.
He stated: “We want to make sure that all operators in this line of business abide by the rules and regulations. We do not want the market to be compromised with sharp practices, and that is why we are stepping up surveillance.
“DPR will not allow LPG retailers to operate under unsafe conditions, to forestall any disastrous consequence. We are collaborating with the NSCDC to enforce compliance with the closure order.”
While commenting on the recent inauguration of the Minimum Industry Safety Training for Downstream Operations, MISTDO, programme, Cardoso said that the agency is committed to improving safety in the oil and gas industry.
“MISTDO is coming on board to encourage the licensed operators to give basic training to their employees, and we still monitor these licensed facilities to ensure compliance. We want to deepen the LPG sector, and to do that, we must increase our surveillance, to weed out the illegal operators,” he added.
On his part, NSCDC, Lagos State Commandant, Mr. Fasiu Adeyinka, said the corps was partnering with DPR to bring sanity to the LPG sector.
“We urge Nigerians to assist the agency in reporting illegal facilities operating within their areas, to avert tragedies caused by gas explosions,” Adeyinka said.