House of Reps c’ttee inspects Lagos tank farms, orders operation by the rules
By Tony Udemba
Members of the House of Representatives’ adhoc committee on the Need
to Relocate Tank Farms from Residential Areas, recently undertook a
two-day tour of oil storage facilities located within Ibru Jetty,
Beach land Estate and Apapa areas.
The Committee expressed dissatisfaction on varying levels of infractions and non-compliance discovered in some facilities, and tasked the owners of tank farm on the need to operate in accordance with regulatory requirements and approvals.
Some of the tank visited by Committee included Integrated Oil & Gas, Ibafon Petroleum, Ardova Petroleum, Conoil, Total, Honeywell, AZ, 11 Oil, OVH, Nipco among others.
Speaking at the stakeholders meeting organized by the Committee, its chairman, Hon. Princess Mariam Onuoha, (Isiala Mbano/Onuimo/Okigwe, Imo State), stated that the purpose of their visit Lagos was to investigate the regulatory compliance and safety implications of the location of tank farms in residential areas, and make appriopriate recomendations to the House of Representatives.
According to her, “we are members of the Adhoc-Committee of the House of Reps on the need to relocate Tank Farms from Residential Areas.
We have come on investigative move to the remaining tank farms in Lagos State, specifically those located in Ibru Jetty, Beachland Estate and Apapa Wharf.
“We have been in Lagos on investigative and reconnaissance visit, and for 2days we
have toured the facilities of these tank farms, and we are in joint inspection with Federal Fire Service, Department of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigerian Ports Authority, NIMASA and related agencies of the Lagos State government.
“Our visit also stem from the recent fire incident in the OVH facility. While we commiserate with the owners of the facility, we have commended the team work exhibited by stakeholders around that neighbourhood which lead to the putting off of the fire. We also thank God that there was no loss of life in the inferno.”
She noted that from their investigations and findings, they had noticed varying degrees of infractions ranging from fire safety using the best techniques and latest designs of fighting fires.
“We have also listened to some of the major challenges being faced by the owners of tanks farms, particularly problems of access to forex, no access roads, tripartite agreements and other myriads of challenges. We as a House are determined to work with tank farm operators to ensure that there would be no hitch in the smooth supply of petroleum products, which about 60 percent of total national consumption or about that, comes from Lagos State.”
Speaking further, Hon. Onuoha stated: “By this visit and our findings, we have mandated tank farm operators in Lagos, especially within those areas we have visited, to comply with set security and regulatory standards, and work in conformity with the provisions of the Lagos State Ministry of Physical and planning to ensure compliance.”
On what would be the fate of tank farm operators who failed to meet up with the safety codes and regulatory standards, the leader of the committee said: “I think about two or three of tank farm owners such as Obat and others, who have some infractions in their operations, and were not here, we have summoned them to appear before the committee in Abuja, in conformity with the mandate given to us on oversight for which we are here on investigation. We want these companies to appear before our committee with full disclosure of their registrations and approvals to operate and other relevant regulatory requirements, certifications and others, which we did not see in their facilities.
“As a Committee, our advice to tank farm owners is to ensure that they adhere strictly to safety codes and regulatory procedures, as well as the global best practices required of in the industry. They must make sure that their operations have all the necessary approvals, certifications, modern firefighting equipment and other necessary tools in order to prevent fire disasters, and for the effective protection of lives and property of residents.
Also, these are necessary for the protection of the lives of their staffs and the huge investments they have made. They must not shy away from acquiring latest designs and technology in their operations, in order to guide against fire out-breaks in their facilities.”
She disclosed that in the course of the fact-finding and investigative tour of oil storage
facilities in Lagos, the House Adhoc Committee had visited about 25
tank farms, while it’s findings were categorized appropriately.”
The one-day stakeholders meeting which held at Radisson Blues Hotel, Victoria Island, was attended by managing directors/ CEOs and representatives of tank farm owners, oil &gas experts, community leaders and environmentalists. Other participants were, representatives of Federal Fire Service, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigerian Ports Authority, Department of Petroleum Resources, NIMASA, Representatives of relevant
agencies of the Lagos State Government.