25 August 2015, Lagos – Some filling stations including NNPC, Mobil, Forte Oil, SO, and a host of others were among the 87 outlets sanctioned by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, for various infractions, including selling above regulated prices for petrol and kerosene, and under-dispensing.
Products from these stations will be traced to the depots and would be made to pay about N100, 000 each into the Federal Government coffers for these infractions before they can re-open for business. Furthermore, if any of them is caught more than once, it will remain closed for at least 90 days before it can resume operations again.
The infractions were uncovered during an oversight inspection carried out last week by the petroleum industry regulator in the Lagos Zone of operations which covers, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, and Lagos state.
The DPR noted that these sharp practices have cost the public and the economy a great deal, as a lot of these filling stations were found to be selling petrol above the stipulated official pump price of N87.00 and even under dispensing by as much as 2 litres per every 10 litres purchased by customers.
“In other words, consumers were paying for the equivalent of 10 litres of petrol while actually being served about 8 litres.”
Specifically, DPR completely sealed up those stations found to have been operating without a license, and have given them the opportunity to formally apply for a license as a means to regularize their operations. Despite series of warnings to desist from such acts, outlets found to engage in various infractions government regulations for the sale of petroleum products included:
- NNPC station at Irawo Bus Stop, Ikorodu Road;
- Mobil at Owode Bus Stop, Ikorodu;
- SO (Sahara Oil) Super Limited at Ogolonto, Ikorodu;
- General Oil Limited, Ketu;
- Walesaf, Owode-Idera Bus Stop, Ikorodu; and,
- HS Petroleum at Ketu.
- Kaz Oil, Lakowe;
- Forte Oil, Gulf Road, Lakowe;
- Ona Ara Oil and Gas Station;
- Forte Oil, Molete;
- Wakass, Igando-Oloja;
- Forte Oil, Abule Folly Ibeju; and,
- Forte Oil, Oribanwa Ibeju Lekki.
Specifically, at Mobil the pumps were found to be under-dispensing, while some 150 litres of water were found in one of its 30,000 litres premium motor spirit, PMS or petrol tanks. Also an NNPC station at Irawo Bus Stop, Ikorodu Road, had three of its pumps sealed for under-dispensing, while two pumps were sealed at the MRS station at Alapere, Ketu, Ikorodu Road.
The Forte Oil station at Oribanwa was sealed for hoarding 24,000 litres of PMS, and refusal to open pumps for testing by the DPR officials. Kaz Oil, which meters read N86.50 per litre at the time of the visit, under dispensed PMS by 0.8 litre for every 10 litre, thereby making buyers pay for the product at above N90 per litre.
Ona Ara Oil and Gas Station was sealed because there was no one to attend to the DPR inspectors, as the officials suspected the pumps were switched off and abandoned on the news that the DPR was in the neighbourhood.
At Forte Oil along Gulf Road, two of the pumps were under dispensing by 0.98 litre and 1.06 litre for every 10 litres. The monitoring tour was led by the Deputy Manager, Retail Outlets, Lagos Zonal office, Mr. Olusegun Dabo, and lasted for about four hours.
Restoring downstream transparency
Speaking to newsmen after the inspection, the DPR Zonal Operations Controller, Lagos, Mrs. Chioma Njoku, said the move is to restore transparency in the sales of petroleum product, and in turn restore the masses’ confidence in the government.
She said, “Some of them (outlet) engage in manipulating their pumps that under-dispense to the public, which is a way of over-charging the buyers and they bear the brunt of it when caught.
“They don’t have any reason not to comply with our rules. We try to trace the problem back to the depots to nip it in the bud. We found out that some of them were selling above the ex-depot price and about 22 depots were sealed in the past few weeks.
“When we get them, they have to pay a fine of N100,000 to the Federal Government and then we have them sealed until the infraction is rectified. And when we catch them for more than once, we seal them for up to 90 days, after then their licences would be seized if such act persist.”
DPR, in a recent warning, said it will place a fine of N200 per litre on any marketer who diverts petroleum products, in a bid to stem the continued fuel shortages being experienced in the country.
The decision followed series of warnings by the regulator to oil marketers and depot operators to desist from sharp practices leading to the illegal increases in the pump prices of petrol and Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK/kerosene, which enjoy federal government subsidy.
The warning read in part: “All marketers are hereby warned to desist from the illegal diversion of petroleum products, especially PMS and DPK. Failure to comply with this directive will attract severe sanctions, including the imposition of a fine of N200 per litre of the diverted product or prosecution in a court of law of both.
“Dealers in petroleum products who are sellers, DAPPMA, MOMAN, NIPCO and PPMC, or buyers, IPMAN and IMB, are hereby warned against buying or selling of PMS and DPK above the government regulated prices.”