Ben Dunno, Warri
Safety training activities at the Opeans Nigeria Training Centre in Warri and Port Harcourt has been suspended by the officials of Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), following the inability of the offshore safety and training outfit to meet its guidelines and specifications.
The decision of the DPR officials yesterday coincided with the earlier directive of the Delta state government to shut down Opeans training premises at Opete community in Udu Local Government area over the same allegation of lacking basic safety certifications and requirements.
It was learnt that safety training Centres that had been involved in Offshore Safety and Emergency Response training centres in Nigeria, had been conducting courses in Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET), Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), Further Offshore Emergency Training (FOET) among others at the training centres in both Warri and Port Harcourt.
The training outfit has however in the last three weeks been having series of credibility issues both with state government and now the regulatory agency the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) that supervises ofshore safety and training centres in the country.
Findings revealed that DPR, in an official letter addressed to the Managing Director of Opeans Nigeria Limited, stated that the Offshore Safety Training Centres operated by the Company (Opeans Nigeria Limited) in Warri, Delta State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, does not comply with the DPR Guideline and Procedure for Travel to Offshore/Swamp Location and Obtainment of Offshore Safety Permit.
The DPR Guideline and Procedure for Travel to Offshore/Swamp Location and Obtainment of Offshore Safety Permit, which took effect in June 2019 stated clearly the mandatory requirements that Operators of Offshore Safety and Emergency Response Training Centres must strictly adhere.
The Director/CEO Engr. Sarki Auwalu had previously stated during a webinar session with the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), that the DPR is passionate about entrenching competence and capacity in the Oil and Gas training space.
He made it clear that the body was being cautious in granting of permits to training organisations inotder to checkmate quackery in the oil and gas sector, adding that the essence of being strict was to reduce the risk of operatoral hazards among the workers.
According to him, “Our recent hard stand posture in ensuring compliace to the standards of safety guidelines is to ensure that Safety Training operators in the country maintain highr standards and eliminate quackery that had been responsible for the loss of oil workers lives, especially at the nation’s offshore locations”.
A check by our Correspondent on the DPR website https://www.dpr.gov.ng/offshore-training-centres/ shown that Opeans Nigeria Limited accreditation expired 11th of May, 2020.
Confirming this also in s telephone conversation, the Warri Comptroller of DPR, Antai Asoquo, said the action was in line with the new policy of the Directorate in ensuring strict compliance to offshore safety standards and specifications.
He said, “I work in Warri. I am not in Port Harcourt, so I can only speak for Warri.
“We went there (Opeans Nigeria Limited Offshore Training Centre in Warri) for accreditation and they did not meet our requirements. So the DPR has not given them permit to operate in Warri”.
But in a swift response, the Media aide to Opeans Nigeria Limited, Mr Iginatus Okparano, described the development as a normal routine in the sector, insisting the the management are already on top of the situation.
According to him, “What has happened is a normal thing in the system”.
“The regulatory body, DPR normally carry out a routine assessment of such onshore/offshore facilities in the country with a view to ascertaining those that may have one problem or the other, including license update, the issue in Opeans is been sorted out with DPR by the management of the company”.
“However, by God Grace, soonest, every thing will be resolved. So, there is no cause for alarm gentlemen, tanx a million for always making professionalism your watch word, just keep it up. Do have a pleasant day”, he stated.