Over 500 local and international participants from oil and gas companies, service providers and regulators amongst others have called for the consolidation of all aspects of operation in Nigeria's gas sector for maximum benefits.
The participants, whose views were contained in the final communiqué on the 15th Biennial International Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) conference on Nigeria's oil and gas sector in Abuja noted that priority attention should be devoted to improving the process of HSE and security of operations within the country's gas production value chain.
According to the communiqué, which was weekend made available by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the conference identified the need for an improved funding of the DPR and its human capacity development drive in view of its roles to meet up with Nigeria's economic development through contributions from the oil and gas sector of the country.
The communiqué highlighted the need for an immediate establishment of an oil and gas industry council to be chaired by the DPR.
The council will consistently examine pertinent issues that affect the entire Nigerian petroleum sector as the need arises as well as create an enabling environment for indigenous manufacturing, fabrication and maintenance yards in-country.
While seeking knowledge based and research driven regulator of the sector in line with standard global practices, the participants also called for the incorporation of occupational health standards and guidelines into the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
It however added that a final review of the proposed occupational health standards and guidelines be conducted by industry participants.
It further read: "The conference reiterates its previous recommendation that the Minister of Petroleum Resources should drive the process for the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between regulatory agencies in order to address conflicting and/or overlapping functions in the oil and gas industry.
The conference identified the need for all stakeholders in safety and environment to maintain a tracking surveillance to track all bills from the National Assembly and appoint Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) as liaison for an all-inclusive legislative process including consideration of extant laws and consultation of all relevant stakeholders before enacting bills into laws to avoid multiplicity of laws on same subject matter."
On issues relating to safety and security of operations in the sector, the communiqué explained: "The conference raised serious concerns on safety issues associated with petroleum product distribution by road transport and recommended that road transportation should be made safer and alternative means of product transportation should be revived e.g. rail and waterways. The Conference identified the need for a shift from lagging to leading safety indicators.
The conference also noted the enormity of the security challenges in the industry and recommended the need to set up a special security outfit for the oil and gas installations. The outfit should be well-funded and remunerated as per oil industry standard."