1st October, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
No fewer than 16 illegal gas facilities and filling stations have been sealed by the Benin office of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), for alleged breach of rules and regulations.
The agency also arrested five suspects and handed them over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution during a two-day monitoring and inspection exercise.
The affected facilities are located within Oredo, Ikpoba Okha, Egor and Uhunmwonde local government areas of the state
The State Comptroller of the Agency, Engineer. Ebi Ogionwo, described the clampdown as a renewed onslaught against activities of illegal and unlicensed oil and gas operators in the State.
He explained that the exercise was a continuous one and the purpose of the arrest made is to bring sanity to the operations of midstream and downstream petroleum business in the state.
The NMDPRA boss alleged that some misguided operators set up oil and gas facilities in areas that are not suitable for the business and without necessary approvals from the agency.
He said: “We are trying to enumerate the total numbers of illegal plants that we have and we are going to take necessary actions against them including partnering with other agencies of governments both state and federal governments to make sure that we shut them down in the state.
“The monitoring and inspection exercise was to entrench safety of lives, properties and environment as well as to check for compliance.
“It is one of our primary responsibilities to make sure that all the people who have established and operating oil and gas facilities in Edo state do so legally, according to the petroleum laws and for them to operate it in a manner that will entrench safety of lives and properties in the state.
“There are laws, guidelines and regulations that people must follow before they set up oil and gas facilities in Edo state. So the purpose of the operations is also to check the level of compliance by those who have set up these facilities in the state and also take necessary actions that is required of us to take on them.
“Nobody should go and build any gas facility or gas plant anywhere in the state without recourse to the agency of government that is responsible for licensing these facilities.”