Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) has said that no fewer than seven liquefied natural gas (LPG) retail outlets have been shut down in Rivers State, for operating without valid licenses.
Zonal Operations Controller of the agency, Mr. Bassey Nkanga, made the disclosure during a meeting with Petroleum Products Marketers Association and Petrol Tankers Drivers Union (PTD) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to him, the enforcement of safety requirements and sanction against violators became necessary to support effective regulation in the downstream sector.
He said: “We are in a very peculiar season, the harmmattan season when fire incidences usually occur at filling stations. This challenge had in most cases occured as a result of avoidable mistakes, hence, the need to step up safety consciousness among stakeholders in the sector.
“We are in continuous search for any filling station operating without licence in the zone. Gone were the days when it took us so much time to process licenses.
“Currently, with our digital innovations, it takes barely hours to get that done”, he said.
On price regulation for petroleum products like the premium motor spirit (PMS) and other products, the DPR boss said that the agency was yet to receive an official directive from the federal government since it was a policy driven exercise.
“For now, our target is on quality, dispense efficiency and accuracy.
“That means, if the official price for product is N162 per litre it must be accurately dispensed, we are going round filling stations to ensure that customers get exactly what is due them.
“We are also making sure that the quality of products meant for the public meet our specification. Currently, we have shut down seven gas retail outlets operating without valid licence”, he added.
On product quality, Nkanga said that the agency has geared up operations towards tracking down on filling station operators who rather patronize illegal refineries.
“DPR does not allow room for delays, we run laboratory analysis of products on daily basis because we receive samples daily.
“There is also currently a fuel station in Aluu area of Ikwerre local government that we have shut down because one of the products they were selling did not meet our specification.
Nkanga added that the agency in fulfillment to its core mandate on safety, would not tolerate non-compliance to guidelines.
He, however, expressed satisfaction with tank farm and filling station operators within the zone as he announced about 98 per cent successful compliance level in their operations.