Natural Gas Plant Facility Licensing in Nigeria

Natural Gas Plant Facility business in Nigeria has some due process that you must follow to start Natural Gas Plant Design and Construction and lastly Licensing. It is governed by Petroleum Refining Regulations, 1974.

The license to construct a gas plant facility and the license to operate gas plant facility shall apply at the appropriate phase of development of the project with DPR supervision.


Read: Natural Gas Plant Design & Construction Requirements in Nigeria


What is Natural Gas?

Natural gas is a mixture of gases containing primarily hydrocarbon gases. It is colorless and odorless in its pure form. It is the cleanest fossil fuel with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions. Natural gas is an important fuel source as well as a major feedstock for fertilizers and petrochemicals.

Natural gas pretreatment typically consists of mercury removal, gas sweetening and drying. Natural gas is dried in molecular sieve adsorbers. Depending on the downstream processing steps and the concentration of the sour gas components, it may be necessary to remove H2S and CO2 from the natural gas.

What is natural gas processing?

A natural gas processing plant is a facility designed to “clean” raw natural gas by separating impurities and various non-methane hydrocarbons and fluids to produce what is known as ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas. A gas processing plant is also used to recover natural gas liquids (condensate, natural gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas) and sometimes other substances such as sulfur.


What is Natural Gas Plant Facility License?

Natural Gas Plant Facility License is a license an organization must have in order to Natural Gas Plant Facility in Nigeria. It is issued and manage be The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Quick Facts About Natural Gas

  • Natural gas, as it is used by consumers, is much different from the natural gas that is brought from underground up to the wellhead.
  • Natural gas used by consumers is composed almost entirely of methane.
  • Major transportation pipelines usually impose restrictions on the make-up of the natural gas that is allowed into the pipeline.
  • Natural gas must be processed to produce ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas.
  • Some field processing can be accomplished at or near the wellhead; however, the complete processing of natural gas takes place at a processing plant.
  • From the wellhead, natural gas is transported to processing plants through a network of small-diameter, low-pressure gathering pipelines.
  • A complex gathering system can consist of thousands of miles of pipes, interconnecting the processing plant to the area.


Read: LPG Business Opportunities in Nigeria


How Natural Gas Processing Work:

Natural gas processing consists of separating all of the various hydrocarbons and fluids from the pure natural gas, to produce what is known as ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas. Associated hydrocarbons, known as ‘natural gas liquids’ (NGLs) can be very valuable by-products of natural gas processing.


NGLs include ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline. These NGLs are sold separately and have a variety of different uses; including enhancing oil recovery in oil wells, providing raw materials for oil refineries or petrochemical plants, and as sources of energy. The actual practice of processing natural gas to pipeline dry gas quality levels can be quite complex, but usually involves four main processes to remove the various impurities:

  • Oil and Condensate Removal
  • Water Removal
  • Separation of Natural Gas Liquids
  • Sulfur and Carbon Dioxide Removal

In addition to those four processes above, heaters and scrubbers are installed, usually at or near the wellhead. The scrubbers serve primarily to remove sand and other large-particle impurities.

The heaters ensure that the temperature of the gas does not drop too low. With natural gas that contains even low quantities of water, natural gas hydrates have a tendency to form when temperatures drop. These hydrates are solid or semi-solid compounds, resembling ice like crystals. Should these hydrates accumulate, they can impede the passage of natural gas through valves and gathering systems.

After processing, the pipeline quality natural gas is injected into gas transmission pipelines and transported to the end users. This often involves transportation of the gas over hundreds of miles, as the location of gas production is generally not the location where the gas is used.


Read: DPR Permit & Requirements


Natural Gas Plant Licensing

Upon mechanical completion of the natural gas plant, a pre-commissioning inspection of the facility shall be carried out by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) prior to the issuance of operating license.


Natural Gas Plant License Pre-Requisites Quality

1) A qualified gas manager is appointed and his appointment is notified in writing to the Director of Petroleum Resources.

2) Complete equipment reports on all critical equipment such as pressure vessels, heat exchangers, fractionation column, compressors, drivers, rotating equipment and storage tanks.

3) Completion of all metering equipment and systems to approved standards.

4) Availability of adequate spare parts, chemicals, catalysts, lubes, greases and other operating consumable materials in the warehouse appropriately codified and organized.

5) Availability of commissioning spare parts, apart from operating spare parts, all properly coded and arranged in the warehouse.

6) Approved operating manuals, maintenance manuals, mechanical catalogues, would have all been supplied, subject to appropriate modifications after commissioning.

7) Approved operating and maintenance organization and availability of trained manpower in sufficient strength.

8) Functional and effective fire prevention and fighting organization already in existence.

9) Functional and effective Safety enforcement Organization and Policies already in existence.

10) All approved engineering drawings in agreed numbers of copies have been supplied by the contractor, subject to modifications to reflect changes during construction.

11) The quality control laboratory is completed and functional.

12) A well-staffed and equipped First Aid Clinic is in place.

13) All other provisions, which are reasonably required to facilitate effective commissioning of the plant, have been made.

14) Confirmation that all-environmental protection standards during design have been met.

15) Payment of prescribed license fees.


Read: NipeX Registration & Requirements


Natural Gas Plant Operation

a) The gas plant facility shall be operated in compliance with the provisions of the Petroleum Refining Regulations, 1974 and any regulations that may come in force.

b) The operator shall prepare and submit an annual program of activity in the form of a presentation to the Director of Petroleum Resources at the beginning of each calendar year.



This comprises routine, preventive scheduled and turn-around maintenance.

a) The gas plant facilities shall be periodically examined for corrosion detection and corrosion protection systems and devices installed shall be regularly checked to ensure effective performance. All these anti-corrosion performance monitoring shall be carried out in accordance with current NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) Standards and procedures.


b) All turn-around maintenance (TAM) schedules shall be duly submitted to the Director of Petroleum Resources at least three months prior to its commencement and thereafter, monthly progress report of the maintenance shall be rendered until completion for monitoring purposes only.



Any proposed modification or enlargement of existing gas plant and facilities shall be communicated to the Department and must be approved in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 3 of the Petroleum Refining Regulations, 1974 and its subsequent revisions before being carried out.



In the case of a request to relocate an existing plant to Nigeria, the applicant shall provide the following information to the Director of Petroleum Resources.

  1. Reason for the plant relocation.
  2. Operational history of the plant including years of operation.
  3. Types of feedstock the relocated gas plant units will process.
  4. Proposed Process Flow Diagram.
  5. Layout for the relocated gas plant
  6. List of process units/packaged units to be re-designed and new gas plant configuration.
  7. List of equipment to be re-engineered.
  8. Land requirement for relocation
  9. Feedstock supply and products evacuation scheme.
  10. Electrical single line diagrams.
  11. Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID’s) of the process units and utilities
  12. Safety, Process and maintenance manuals.
  13. HAZOP review report of the re-designed and re-engineered gas plant.
  14. Environmental Impact Assessment report.
  15. The design parameter and the As-built drawings of the entire plant, offsite and utilities.
  16. Current technical status of the plant certified from a comprehensive technical audit carried out by an internationally reputable inspection agency.
  17. A SAFE Chart analysis of the plant.
  18. An Environmental Impact Report of the plant
  19. Flow assurance report
  20. Any other requirement as the Director may specify from time to time.


Read: Local Content (NOGIC JQS) and NCEC Registration


On application to relocate gas plant facilities, the statutory non-refundable application fee for License to establish a gas plant facility shall apply.

Upon receipt and completion of the review of the above, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) shall appoint experts to carry out a physical inspection of the plant and accessories on location in order to verify the integrity of the plant elements. If satisfied, the DPR may grant an approval for the plant to be relocated to another location in Nigeria, at the total risk of the promoters.


Aziza Nigeria is a business supports service firm in Nigeria with good reputation and many years of experience in Nigerian Oil & Gas sector. Find our Business Support Services ranging from Business/ Company registration services, Company Tax Clearance processing, Local representation and more that will suit you.

Natural Gas Plant Facility Licensing in Nigeria

About The Author