The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday flagged off the Oil and Gas Search, Rescue and Surveillance (SeRAS) Command and Control Centre in Lagos.
The centre is to improve safety and operational efficiency across the industry.
Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director, DPR, who flagged off the programme on Monday, said it was being implemented in collaboration with Omni-Blu Aviation Services Limited and would increase safety and revenue generation.
He said they were critical to operations in the industry, adding that this necessitated the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) which was inaugurated recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Auwalu said : “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 create an insurance and assurance for all workers across the value chain whether working offshore and onshore, either you are working for exploration and production, marketing or refining.
“The essence of this programme is to guarantee safety of lives while also guaranteeing for any emergency and the same time provide medical services to victim that will be involved in the incident and above all, it creates a cooperative agreement to reduce cost and enhance value for all the stakeholders.”
The director maintained that the vision of the Buhari-led administration and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, was to open up Nigeria for business.
Auwalu said reducing the risk of operations in the oil and gas sector would attract more investors which would enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
Mr Akin Olateru, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, said Nigeria was a signatory to Annex 12 of the Chicago Convention which requires the setting up of a programme like SeRAS.
“Search and rescue is a big deal. It saves lives and property and enhances productivity which should be taken seriously by any nation,” he said.
Similarly, retired AVM Muhammadu Muhammed, Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) , said continued collaboration between DPR and the agency was critical to enhance safety.
Muhammed, represented by Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Coordinator, South West Zonal Office, NEMA said SeRAS would complement the efforts of NEMA in disaster management and reduction in the oil and gas industry.
Also, the industry stakeholders including Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, Chairman, Independent Petroleum Producers Group, commended DPR for setting up the programme.
They noted that the collaboration would reduce their operational cost and improve safety of their employees, especially those in off-shore locations.