The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Friday intensified efforts to curtail incidence of gas explosion in Lagos State with the closure of nine illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plants.
The DPR, which is the regulator of the oil and gas industry, said the affected LPG (cooking gas) plants did not comply with the prerequisite safety standards and were operating without pertinent approvals.
Reports state that the sealed gas plants are located at Idimu, Ikotun Egbe, Ipaja and Igando axis in Alimosho Local Government Area of the state.
Three employees of the gas plants were also arrested by officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) which collaborated with the DPR in the exercise.
Mrs Olubunmi Ogundare, Assistant Director, Operations, DPR, Lagos Zonal Office, said the move was part of the agency’s oversight duty of monitoring activities of companies operating within the industry across the value chain.
She said the LPG plants were shut down for various reasons including operating within densely populated areas and other unapproved locations for gas business.
Ogundare said the surveillance which was a continuous exercise was aimed at curbing arbitrary location of LPG facilities and ensuring safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
According to her, it will also help to sanitise LPG facilities in Lagos State by enforcing standards in their operations.
She disclosed that a total of 59 illegal gas plants had been sealed by the DPR from January to June.
“Those identified illegal LPG facilities contravened the DPR guidelines for the establishment of LPG refilling plants and retailers outlets in Nigeria.
“You cannot operate LPG plant without applying for pertinent approval from DPR.
“For you to get this approval, you must go through three phases which take place in stages from setting up the LPG facility, construction and commencement of operations.
“The three approvals are site suitability, approval to construct and licence to operate.
“If you don’t have these pertinent approvals, you are not supposed to operate an LPG facility in Nigeria,” Ogundare said.
She also advised Nigerians to report any illegal and unsafe LPG facility within their locality to DPR for the regulatory agency to take necessary action.