By G9ija

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has commenced the implementation of its Search Rescue and Surveillance Programme (SeRAS) initiative in a bid to renew investors’ confidence and make Nigeria a destination for oil and gas investments.

Insecurity in oil-producing areas have remained a concern for producers, costing industry operators about seven per cent of yearly spending.

SeRAS, which is one of the five units of the Department’s National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) launched by President Muhammadu Buhari early in the year, is expected to increase the level of safety; achieve cost efficiency while bringing about value addition across the oil and gas industry value chain.

The Director, DPR, Sarki Auwalu, at the flag-off of SeRAS, said with the initiative there is no negotiation for safety. He pointed out that the entire business is safety and revenue interest.

He reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to achieving a safer environment for both local and foreign investments.

In his words: “If it is not safe, it cannot generate revenue and if the revenue has to be constant, it has to be safe. This is why we have to ensure all workers across the value chain whether working offshore and onshore, whether they are working for exploration and production, marketing or refining.

“The essence of this programme is to guarantee the safety of lives while guaranteeing any emergency and the same time provides medical services to a victim that will be.

“The oil and gas industry is like the engine room for the economic activities in Nigeria as we bring much of the money. If it is not safe, the common man will not have the required energy to move. We are also trying to de-risk our nation and we are rewriting the history of the country.”

The Acting Coordinator, Lagos State Zonal Office, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, said the flag-off was the first in the oil and gas sector, describing the move as a major support in search and rescue.

“There have been wide gaps in the oil and gas industry in terms of emergency response. The SeRAS is a step in the right direction to support the de-risking of Nigeria because the concept around the world is to invest in countries with less risk,” he said.

In another development, the Department on an assessment tour visited one of its licensed fabrication yard-lying fallow at Ilase community, snake island, Amuwo Odofin Local government area, Lagos State.

The DPR expressed displeasure at the fallow asset despite its ability to create wealth and job employment for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.

The DPR boss assured Nigerians that the fabrication yard would be put to judicious use as it would save Nigeria millions of dollars used for importing things the country has a competitive advantage of producing.

“The industry depends on facilities like this to actualise their investment because it is like a support system for the oil and gas sector. Our visit here is that we see an edifice that we licensed and it is dormant, but we are going to make it active because we see an opportunity to grow the oil and gas industry,” he said.