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20 Jan

OIL AND GAS 2.1B PIPELINES (GUIDELINES ON CONSTRUCTION)

BRIEF GUIDELINES ON CONSTRUCTING PIPELINES IN NIGERIA

A person who desires to construct a pipeline must follow the laid down guidelines.

First:: He/she/it must obtain a Permit to Survey (Also referred to as a license to Survey) from the Petroleum Minister: As provided by Section 4 of the Oil Pipelines Act. To get this permit, an application is made to the Minister of Petroleum Resources (accompanied with prescribed particulars and requisite fees- See Section 31 OPA) for permission to survey the route through which the pipeline would pass. If the Minister is satisfied, he may grant the License/permit to survey. This permit (from the interpretation of Section 5 OPA), empowers the holder to enter and survey the specified route. He can take levels of sand, dig, cut trees and remove obstructions… in summary he can do acts which are necessary to make preparations for installation of the pipeline. Provided he gives at least 14 days prior notice (of intention to enter upon premises) to the owner or occupier of the affected premises-Section 6. Unconsented entrance may amount to trespass. Note also that entry into certain lands are restricted under Section 15. Except with prior consent of the Minister. The holder shall exercise due care and compensate the owner or occupier of a premises for damage done. (On compensation, see also Regulation 23 of the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations which provides for compensation for disruption of fishing rights. Also Section 11(5)).

Second:: He should conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment: to determine the effect which his activity (construction and operation of the pipeline) is going to have on the environment. He should submit his report to the minister who is to consider this in determining whether or not to grant the license. If the minister sees that it is gonna have an adverse effect on the environment, he can vary the route[1] or refuse the application.

Third:: He must obtain a License to Construct (regarded as the Oil Pipeline License): Section 7 provides: “The holder of a permit to survey may make an application to the Minister…for the grant of an oil pipeline licence in respect of any oil pipeline the survey of the route for which has been completed by the applicant[2]. The application shall clearly state the route of pipeline and nature of fluid to be conveyed[3]. Persons that would be affected by the construction of the pipeline may make an objection at the appointed time for the minister to consider-See Section 8(1) OPA.

After the requisite fees have been paid and the prescribed conditions complied with, the minister may grant the Oil Pipeline license. This license entitles the holder to construct, operate and maintain an oil pipeline[4] strictly in accordance with the terms of the grant.

Where the minister rejects an application, he should notify the applicant in writing-Section 7(3).

Section 7(4) OPA provides: “No person other than the holder of a licence shall construction, maintain or operate an oil pipeline”. The construction or operation by an unlicensed person may ground imprisonment of up to 2 years or 1,000 or both… in addition to removal or disposal of the pipeline.

Upon the grant of this license, Section 17(5) provides that the holder must commence construction within the time specified. The holder of the license is under a duty not to assign, sublet or mortgage the right under the license without the previous consent of the minister-Section 17(4d) OPA.[5]

The pipeline so constructed can be inspected by a public officer. Section 6 and 7 OGPRegulation provide that the holder (i.e. licensee) must have a written emergency plan in the event of system failure and accidental discharge from the pipeline.

The license lapses after 20 years and an application for renewal may be made.

[1] See Section 5 (2) of the Oil Pipeline Act

[2] Also Section 1 OGPRegulations.

[3] See Section 8 OPA Section 2 OGPRegulations 1995.

[4] See Section 11OPAct which provides; (1)A licence shall entitle the holder, his officers, agents, workmen servants with any necessary equipment or vehicles, subject to the provisions of Sections 14, 15 and 16 of this Act, to enter upon, take possession of or use a strip of land of a width not exceeding two hundred feet or of such other width or widths as may be specified in the licence and upon the specified in the licence, and thereon there-over or there-under construct, maintain and operate an oil pipeline and ancillary installations.

[5] See Section 17 generally for the various terms and conditions.

Isochukwu

Quite eccentric really

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