04 October 2014, Lagos – It may no longer be business as usual for some marketers who engage in unwholesome practices in the petroleum sector, as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has threatened to land its sledge hammer on erring operators.
Specifically, the oil industry watchdog decried the rising cases of under-dispensing, product diversion, compromising safety, poor tank design, and kerosene price manipulations, warning the marketers to desist from such unpatriotic act, or prepare for the wrath of the law.
The Director, DPR, George Osahan, who made this challenge during the 2014 yearly meeting with the petroleum product
marketers and stakeholders, said: “Some retail outlets have continued to tamper with their pumps in order to cheat the unsuspecting customers despite our constant warnings against such acts. This is very disappointing and it goes a long way to show that many operating companies no longer monitor the activities of their stations. The stations have been left at the mercy of dealers, station managers and pump attendants, while the companies are only interested in recouping thier investments.
“The companies are therefore warned that this act must stop or we may be left with no choice than to impose stiffer penalty against the defaulting companies, henceforth,”
Osahan, who was represented by the Assistant Director/Head Downstream Operations, DPR, Oliver Opara Orjiako, also raised concerns about the flagrant disregard to price pegs on products, expecially kerosene which is still regulated by the government.
He said: “We warn marketers to desist from such act. DPR will from now on sanction any retail outlet caught selling kerosene above the approved price of N50.”
He pointed out that, “most operators, majors and independents have not taken safety issues with utmost priority. Most companies allow unrestricted number of persons entering station’s premises at will, while others are being crowded with all sorts of people; traders, beggers and touts. This is a gross violation of safety regulations and must be stopped.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Mrs. C.N Njoku, decried unauthorised conversion of products underground storage, upgrade of facilities, and enjoined marketers to always keep DPR informed of any planned renovation of facilities.
She however tasked the marketers on renewal of storage/sales licenses, and submission of applications before December 31st, 2014.
According to her, the department has introduced new self audit checklist, to ensure routine monitoring of the functionality of equipment and the premises generally.
She however harped on strict compliance with risk of fire procedures; fire extinguishers; sand buckets; water; general house keeping; staff training and product quality control among others.
– The Guardian