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PIB: Expert tasks govt on safeguarding Nigerians against environmental hazards

The Society of Energy Administrators (SEA) has called on Federal Government to enact energy service criminal laws to capture health, safety and environment risk management in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Timipre Sylva
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva

President of SEA, Dr Yekeen Adeboye, made the call when he led executives of the society on a courtesy visit to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday, July 11, 2021.

Adeboye called for addendum to the PIB recently passed by the National Assembly to criminalise operational lapses in energy administration.

According to him, the old law shortchanged host communities but the new PIB did not capture the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) Risk Management Accountability.

He said omission of QHSE would increase Nigerians disaster vulnerability because industry players were not mindful of manpower quality, toxic waste management, security and other important indices.

He said that some industry players could not distinguish between personal Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and QHSE, adding that SEA was working to bridge the knowledge gap.

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“This QHSE Risk Management Accountability is not given priority because right now, federal government is trying to do the diversification, a typical example is using gas in the automobile industry to generate power in order to increase the demand for the use of gas.

“A typical example is the LPG but people are just talking of the business aspect of it, the safety accountability in transportation of the gas and even the manufacturing of the cylinders, all the accessories that go with this gas, they do not take the safety as the topmost priority.

“That issue has not been addressed even with this present PIB but to address it, there is need to have energy operations service criminal laws because where there is no law, there is no sin,’’ he said.

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He called for introduction of risk management mechanisms into transportation, project designs, facility management and operations of the oil and gas industry.

He said there was more sanity in the upstream of the oil and gas industry because International Oil Companies (OICs) that dominated the sector used laws from their countries of origin for regulation.

He said that the downstream dominated by Nigerians was the most unregulated due to obsolete local laws for QHSE risk management standard enforcement and ignorance which the PIB must address.

He lamented that many tanker drivers escaped from scenes of explosion while truck owners were not made liable due to the nation’s obsolete laws.

Adeboye, a petrochemical engineer and accredited environment management consultant, said lack of QHSE in project designs and facility management was responsible for rising spate of petroleum tanker explosions which the PIB must address.

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He said energy played a vital role in the economic and social development of nations and must be regulated because the sector cuts across infrastructure, transportation, power and all spheres of life.

He said that project designers and operators in Nigeria must include maintenance plans into projects for human, equipment and environmental safety to avert disaster.

Also speaking, SEA National Secretary, Dr Abayomi Akeem, called for addendum to the PIB to criminalise operational lapses in energy administration.

SEA Lagos Coordinator, Mr Oluwaseun Olukoya, said that the PIB should not focus only on percentages due to host communities but on governance for adequate regulation of the oil and gas industry.

By Grace Alegba

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