04 August 2015, Lagos – The Department of Petroleum Resources has shut 23 private petroleum products’ depots nationwide for selling petrol to marketers above the ex-depot price of N77.66 per litre.
The DPR said the 23 shut depots were closed on Friday after investigations by its special team revealed that they were involved in undue profiteering.
It said the sealed depots were mainly in Lagos, except two that were located in Warri and three in Calabar.
The agency, in a statement signed by its Director, Mordecai Ladan, said, “The clampdown on the private depots followed the report of a special investigation team set up by the DPR to uncover some unwholesome practices by the private petroleum products’ depots following a tip-off.”
It listed conditions to be met by the depots before the sanction would be lifted to include the payment of a fine of N2m each, an undertaking that PMS would not be sold to bulk buyers, that all subsequent sale shall be at N77.66 per litre as approved by the Federal Government, and that DPR shall monitor the sale of the remaining and subsequent products.
The agency said that it had also directed its offices to ensure that all filling stations must sell petrol at the government-approved price of N87 per litre across the country regardless of the source depot.
Despite the sanction, one of our correspondents learnt on Monday that independent marketers were still buying the product for N100 per litre from the major depot owners.
The Controller of Operations in charge of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, DPR, Mr. Asuquo Antai, said the depots would henceforth be monitored to ensure strict compliance.
“I can tell that the 21 petroleum depots that were earlier shut down have been reopened and they were fined N2m each. We gave them condition across board and we will monitor them to ensure compliance,” he added.
Speaking on scarcity of the product, the DPR controller blamed marketers and banks, saying major importers were reluctant to bring in the product, while the banks were also not willing to finance imports.