In the process of starting an LPG cooking gas refill plant, one of the basic conditions is to get DPR approval to setup. According to the steps on how to start a cooking gas plant, getting DPR approval is the second step you should take.
That means, DPR approval is very much an important requirement when setting up a cooking gas refill plant.
And if you are wondering, what is DPR and how do I even begin to process this approval? Just relax and read through this entire post. I have taken enough space to give you details about DPR approval and how to go about it.
How Cooking Gas Refill Plant Works
Let me give you a brief introduction to cooking gas refill plant before we progress with DPR approval. A cooking gas refill plant is where consumers go to buy and refill their cooking gas cylinders. You can find these gas refill plants everywhere now around you.
The process of setting up this refill plants requires the following steps:
- Getting Land of minimum size of 100 by 100 feet.
- Getting DPR regulatory approvals
- Setting up Cooking gas refill plant equipments
These 3 steps as described here follows almost in the same way. Although DPR approval cuts through all the stages. It’s required first to approve the land size and location conditions. Also for the construction of the refill plant and the licensing of the operation.
What Is DPR Approval?
First let me explain the meaning of DPR. The abbreviation DPR means THE DIRECTORATE OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES. It’s a department in the ministry of petroleum that’s vested with the sole responsibility to regulate all petroleum products retail in the country.
So, that means your cooking gas refill plant business is under the purview of the DPR. You cannot setup a cooking gas plant anywhere in Nigeria without the regulatory supervision of DPR. And that includes petrol filling stations.
DPR ensures that every cooking gas refill plant meets all the statutory requirements for safety and environmental conditions before operation. They also ensure that consumers are not cheated by over paying for cooking gas or shortchanged with wrong measurement.
Understanding DPR Approval
The DPR approval is a major requirement when setting up a cooking gas plant. You cannot operate a cooking gas plant anywhere in Nigeria without the approval of The Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
In fact, DPR will be clamping down on all the roadside sellers of cooking gas to stop all unregulated transactions in the cooking gas sector. Even as government plans for free cooking gas cylinders for consumers to take off.
But DPR approval for cooking gas refill plant is in 3 phases. And all the 3 takes place in stages, from the beginning of your gas Plant setup and before the commencement of operation of the gas plant. Even after the gas Plant setup, DPR will continue their regulatory oversight for as long as the business exists.
Here are the 3 DPR approvals you will need at when setting up a cooking gas refill plant:
- Site Suitability Approval
- Approval to Construct
- Licence to Operate
These 3 DPR Approvals will be issued at different stages of the setup. The first one being the site suitability approval, followed by the approval to construct and licence to operate.
Site Suitability Approval
This is the first step when starting a cooking gas refill plant. It’s also the first approval required before any thing else is done about starting your cooking gas refill plant. Even though you can actually conduct the physical Suitability test for your location, you will still need DPR to give their approval.
Site Suitability Approval involves an assessment of the proposed land location to ascertain its Suitability for cooking gas refill plant, according to DPR regulatory conditions. Note that this Suitability test doesn’t include profitability or viability assessment.
It’s not the job of DPR to verify the viability of your location for cooking gas refill plant. That’s your job to do so. The job of DPR site Suitability Approval is to ensure that the safety of the people is adhered to and that your refill plant won’t constitute any environment problem as well.
What DPR Site Suitability Test Involves
There are specific things DPR looks for to give their site Suitability Approval. These conditions must be met before DPR approval for site Suitability be issued to you.
- Land size test will confirm if the land meets the minimum size required for gas plant by DPR
- Closeness to a residential assessment is to ensure it’s at least 15 meters away from any residential building. Although this particular condition maybe conflicting in most cases. But DPR Approval looks into it as well.
- Closeness to a public place like church, school, market, mosque and any other public place that large number of people gather. DPR Approval will be denied if your location is within the closeness of any of such public places.
- Closeness to high tension or major power installation or public infrastructure like petroleum pipeline. This one too will cause DPR Approval denial.
- Soil contamination test is another requirement. DPR will conduct soil test to ensure underground water will not be contaminated in any way by waste products from your gas refill plant.
DPR will be visiting the proposed location for this assessment. However, it’s recommended that you conduct an independent assessment of your location before applying for DPR site approval.
This should have been done even before you purchase the land. But since most of you already have the land even before you think of starting a cooking gas refill plant, just get a cooking gas consultant to do complete site assessment. This independent assessment will ensure both Suitability and viability assessment is done together.
Approval To Construct
The next DPR approval after site Suitability assessment is approval to construct. Once the site is suitable and approved by DPR, you can now apply for approval to start constructing your gas refill plant.
DPR can’t give approval to Construct until site Suitability is approved. The site approval confirms the Suitability of your location for a gas refill plant. And once this is given by DPR, you can apply for the approval to Construct the gas plant.
DPR Approval to Construct is not just an approval allowing you to start construction of the gas plant. It also approves the design and pipe architecture for the gas plant. It’s more of a design Approval than just go and start constructing.
DPR wants to control what is being constructed and how it should be constructed. After all, these should be part of how to ensure safety conditions are met.
You should also read the post on Cooking Gas Plant Companies You Should Know. I gave information about companies that can Construct your gas refill plant for you according to DPR specifications.
Licence To Operate
After you have constructed your cooking gas refill plant, you can’t begin to sell cooking gas until DPR says so. That shows you can’t just Construct whatever you like either. You have to build according to the prescribed order.
DPR wants to ensure nobody builds outside the approved design plan. The DPR design plan is to ensure safety of the plant for users and residence alike.
So, to get your licence to operate, you must also build according to DPR approval to Construct. And it doesn’t end by just constructing according to DPR design plan. It has to be tested as well.
However, one of the major requirement for this licensing is pressure testing of the gas refill plant. Every other test or requirement maybe minor but pressure testing is the main reason DPR will certify you to begin operation. And it’s important that your construction company conducts its own pressure testing before DPR test.
How Much Does DPR Approval Cost?
DPR Approval also cost money as well. I know what’s going in your mind right now is how much does all these DPR approvals cost? The answer will be given to you soon.
However, I will avoid given you the cost per stages because it may not be the same for everyone. Even the total cost may not be the same for as well. Mr. A may spend an amount different from what Mr. B might spend on this same Approval.
But it’s always advisable to make budget for at least N3.5 million for all the stages of DPR approval.
How To Contact DPR
The knowledge of DPR is still obscure to many people. Not many know what DPR stands for or that they even exist. That also includes knowing where to contact DPR. Yet, DPR is not hidden because it had been existing for many years.
Those in petrol filing station business are very familiar with DPR. So, if you know how long petrol stations have been there, just know that DPR has been long too. It’s not a new government office to frustrate cooking gas business. It’s for our safety and the safety of our people and customers.
DPR offices are located in every state capital nationwide. Each state capital has a DPR office. Excerpt Delta state that I know have their own DPR office in Warri. You can ask around your state capital for the DPR office in your state.
You can also check on DPR website here. Or search on Google for list of DPR offices nationwide.
Cooking Gas Refill Plant Viability Assessment
Starting a cooking gas refill plant must be done like every other business you desire to do profitably. And like a mentioned above, DPR approval is not a viability assessment. They are only concerned about safety of the people and the environment.
It’s your sole responsibility to determine the viability of your cooking gas refill business. And because cooking gas is a location based business, even though you know that the business is viable, it may not be viable in your proposed location.
So, I’m not asking you to do something for the sake of paying a consultant. It’s an assessment that would save you from high risk of investing your millions into a location that will drain it into losses.
Why You Need Location Viability Assessment
- DPR approves your location and not your company name. If you want to change location you will also need to start DPR Approval afresh in that new location.
- The success of each individual cooking gas Plant depends on its location. Even though cooking gas refill business is a lucrative investment, their viability is only dependent on the proposed location.
- Viability assessment saves you from risking your millions in a location you are not certain will be profitable for your cooking gas refill plant. Once you invest money and you couldn’t recoup it back, then it’s gone forever.
- Reduce the uncertainty that may lead to anxiety and depression when you are not sure if your investment will be profitable or not. Stop investing by assumption. It’s not a wise decision to risk your money in a business you have little or no information on its viability for you. Don’t think because one gas Plant in that areas is doing well that means yours will also do well. Be very sure with facts.
N.B: Use a cooking gas consultant to conduct a viability assessment on your proposed location. It doesn’t cost much and it takes just a few days to conduct. Although, you will require to provide the consultant with proper hotel accommodation during the period. And pay him for his services.
To start processing DPR approval you will need to have acquired the proposed land for your cooking gas refill plant. Other things you should have handy is your company CAC registration certificate and possibly tax clearance certificate.
However, DPR only accepts limited liability companies. So, you should have a public registered company certificate.
The name of your company must not be the proposed name of your gas plant. For example, if your gas Plant is OK Gas but your company name is EFULE Nigeria Limited, there’s nothing wrong there. DPR will approve Efule as your company name, while OK Gas will be your trading name.