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Bunkering Operations Approval Guidelines in Nigeria

Bunkering operations simply mean the process of supplying fuels, Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), Fuel Oil, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) & lubricating oils to users in the marine environment. Bunkering itself is the process of supplying fuel for use by ships which includes the shipboard logistics of loading fuel and distributing it among available bunker tanks.

Though, the terminology bunkering was originated in the days of steamships, when the fuel, coal, was stored in bunkers. Today, the term bunker is generally applied to the storage of petroleum products in tanks and the practice and business of refueling ships. Bunkering operations are located at seaports, and they include the storage of “bunker” (ship) fuels and the provision of the fuel to vessels.

A licensed bunker supply vessel is referred to as bunker vessel, ship, or barge licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources to deliver or dispense bunker fuels and /or lubricating oils to ocean-going vessels. A licensed bunker supplier or bunker refers to a company licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to supply bunker fuels to end-users within Nigerian waters.

Bunkering Operations Approval General Requirements

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Any applicant seeking the bunkering operations approval license shall be eligible to be licensed under the guidelines upon satisfying the following requirements

– Applications for a licence to engage in bunker fuel supply and trading shall be made in the manner described in Section 1.3 below and in
the form prescribed in Appendix I.
– All companies shall be duly incorporated and registered for the Bunkering Operations business in Nigeria.
– Applicants for Bunkering Licences may have Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with reputable Bunker Fuel trade partners, locally or internationally.
– Applicants for Bunkering Licences must show evidence of technical and financial capabilities which will be verified by the DPR.
– Bunkering license applicants shall have functional offices with technically efficient communication equipment/ facilities capable
of supplying operational data in real-time to a portal created by DPR in a format to be specified by the Department.

– All bunkering companies shall have a well-equipped laboratory for quality control of their products.
– Applicants shall submit an Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
– Applicants shall submit an Emergency Response Plan.
– Vessels owned or leased for operations must meet applicable
International Bunkering Safety Standards.
– Ship/ Vessels to be utilized for mobile Bunkering Operations in Nigeria MUST be listed in the Lloyds, Bureau-Veritas or any of the
internationally recognized Classifications, and evidence of such
registration shall be provided by the applicant.

– Design of static or jetty based bunkering facility including architectural, engineering, foundation safety and all other designs that would assist the DPR in determining the suitability of the facility.
– Motorized barges to be utilized for Bunkering Operations must be registered with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency (NIMASA) and evidence of such registration shall be provided by the applicant.
– Only double-hull vessels shall be used in bunkering operations.
– All bunkering companies shall have tracking and automatic sampling devices installed on their vessel(s).

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The Procedure for the Bunkering Operations Companies Licensing

Licenses issued under these guidelines shall have a validity of one calendar year and all fees paid herein are non-refundable

New Bunkering Operations Application Requirements Applicants shall be required to make a presentation to the DPR on planned bunkering operations. This shall include, but not limited to, a comprehensive Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) plan, proposed
business plan, and Nigerian Content plan for the next three years. The following shall apply to new applications:

– Application for a NEW Licence shall be made on the prescribed form (Appendix I) issued by the DPR.
– Application fee of US$ 10,000 (or equivalent in Naira), Accreditation fee of US$ 50,000 (or equivalent in Naira) and Vessel/ Motorised Barge License fee of US$ 10,000 (or equivalent in Naira). All these fees should be made payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria – DPR Fees Account.
– An administrative fee of US$ 5,000 (or equivalent in Naira) payable to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
– Bunkering Vessel Inspection/ Verification fee of US$ 1,000.00 (or equivalent in Naira) per vessel payable to the Department of Petroleum Resources.

– The following documents shall accompany the application form:
* Evidence of payment of taxes in the last three (3) years (tax clearance certificate).
* List of approved communication equipment installed in the various offices and business premises with proof of ownership.
* Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum & Article of Association and form CAC 07 & CAC 02.
* Locations, addresses and capacities of facilities to be used for storage. The minimum requirement is 5,000 MT.
* Full description of vessel owned/ leased by the applicant, including name, age, tonnage, flag, etc. The maximum deadweight of a bunkering vessel allowed is 5,000 MT.
* Request for vessel tank calibration shall be made to DPR. The calibration exercise shall be mandatorily witnessed by DPR representative(s) and the table generated shall be forwarded to the DPR for approval. The calibration exercise shall be carried out every five (5) years

* Current firefighting certification of vessels by the relevant regulatory agencies.
* Certification of inspection of the vessel by NIMASA.
* Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Certification or Permit for every vessel.
* An annual report on the state of the vessel from a DPR accredited inspector (surveyor).
* Copy of certificate of insurance for pollution liability with coverage of a minimum of twenty million US dollar (US$ 20 million) (or equivalent in Naira)
* Evidence of competence in bunkering operations relating to trained personnel, equipment by NIMASA
* Bunkering operations procedure manual.

Bunkering Operations Application License Renewal Requirements

– Application for renewal of a license shall be made on the prescribed form (Appendix 1) issued by DPR.
– A renewal fee of US$ 25,000 (or equivalent in Naira) per annum and Vessel/ Motorised Barge License fee of $10,000 (or equivalent in Naira) per annum payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria – DPR Fees Account.
– An administrative fee of US$10,000 (or equivalent in Naira) payable to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
– Bunkering Vessel Inspection/ Verification fee of US$ 500 (or equivalent in Naira) per vessel to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
– Every licensee shall file an application for the renewal of a license at least one calendar month before the expiry date of the current license. Failure to comply shall attract penalty as specified in Section 5.0
– All licensed bunkering companies will be required to submit evidence of the quantities of bunker fuels supplied in the last twelve months (by –presentation of copies of bunker receipts with corresponding distribution data for each delivery)

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– The following documents shall accompany the renewal application form:
* Copy of the expired license.
* Annual returns of bunker fuel volumes, locations/positions with bills of lading for all cargoes loaded.
* Evidence of payment of taxes in the past three (3) years (tax clearance certificate).
iv. Current fire-fighting certification of vessels by the relevant regulatory agencies.
* Certification of vessel’s inspection by NIMASA
* Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Certification or Permit for every vessel.
* An annual report on the state of the vessel from a DPR accredited inspector (surveyor)
* Copy of certificate of insurance for pollution liability.
* Copy of vessel re-certification if due.

Construction of Bunkering Operations Facilities

Facilities to be used for bunkering activities shall be fixed or mobile. The fixed facilities for the storage of bunker fuel shall include but not limited to depots and dump-barges (tied to jetties) while the mobile facilities are motorized vessels and barges.

Mobile Facilities
In addition to standard requirements for bunker vessels and barges, all mobile facilities shall satisfy the following conditions:
– Double hull with steel or fiberglass body.
– Equipped with modern tracking devices as specified by DPR
– Automated sampling system with real-time monitoring capability.
– The transfer/ dispensing hose shall be equipped with an emergency disconnect system.
– Shall have a well-calibrated dispensing system that clearly indicates the price of products which occasionally shall be checked for correctness by the DPR.
– They shall be equipped with adequate firefighting equipment.
– Shall be equipped with an automatic emergency shutdown system
– The word “BUNKERING” shall be boldly inscribed on the body of the vessel or barge.
– Shall have a minimum of two fenders.

Fixed Facilities

– The intending operator of a field facility shall submit an application to DPR for suitability inspection. The inspection shall among other things
report on: –
* Location & size of site/jetty/barge
* Indication of the similar facility within 2km stretch
* Topographic survey of site/jetty as appropriate
* Drainage from the site will be checked and certified by the DPR
* Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

– Fixed facilities shall go through the process of Approval To Construct (ATC) and Approval to Operate (ATO) as contained in these guidelines
– In addition to standard requirements for depots and dump-barges (tied to jetties) all fixed facilities shall satisfy the following conditions:
* Shall be made of steel, glass fiber or any material that satisfies acceptable international codes and standards.
* Equipped with an automated sampling system with real-time monitoring capability.
* The transfer hose shall be equipped with an emergency disconnect system.
* Equipped with an automatic emergency shutdown system
* The word “BUNKERING” shall be boldly inscribed on the jetty and the prices of products displayed.
* They shall be equipped with adequate firefighting equipment.
* Dedicate storage tank(s) for bunker fuel.
* Dedicate line(s) with back-loading facilities.
* Be equipped with a minimum of two fenders; if dumb barges are used.

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Bunkering Dos and Donts

– No person shall carry out a bunkering operation by operating a fixed or floating bunkering facility unless in possession of a valid license issued by the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources (HMPR) in accordance with the provisions of these Guidelines.
– A company shall not be eligible for a license unless it owns a vessel adequately fitted with the well-calibrated dispensing facility or a fixed bunkering facility constructed in accordance with DPR guidelines as contained herein and;
* In the opinion of the Director of Petroleum Resources the company possesses the requisite facilities and capabilities to provide such service within Nigerian waters; and
* Is incorporated under the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
– Bunkering license issued under these Guidelines shall not be transferable or sublet to a third party.

– The holder of any license under these guidelines shall comply with all instructions, orders or directives given by the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources from time to time in relation to bunkering operations.
– Every company licensed under these Guidelines shall display such license during operations and produce the same to an officer authorized by the Director of Petroleum Resources on demand.
– No licence shall be issued to a vessel unless it is duly registered in accordance with the NIMASA Cabotage Act, 2003.

– The Director of Petroleum Resources may require the owner, who has applied for a license or prior renewal of a license, to bring the vessel to a place at an appointed date and time for inspection by a surveyor or any other person appointed by him.
– The Department of Petroleum Resources shall publish detailed Procedure Guides for Bunkering Operations in Nigeria, which shall be the working template for those Inspectors who will be involved in monitoring & supervision of the operations.

Culled from the official DPR Website | Guidelines for Bunkering Operations in Nigeria

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