Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Federal Government has assured Nigerians that it is taking proactive steps to ensure that Nigerians do not experience end-of-the-year scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in 2018 as was the case in 2017 and previous years.
This was as it regretted Nigerians had grueling experiences during the 2017 fuel scarcity, which began on November 8 and did not stop until first quarter of 2018.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, gave the assurance on Tuesday at the 2018 annual DPR/petroleum marketers’ meeting held at Harry’s Events and Suites, New Adeoyo Road, Off Moshood Abiola Way (Ring Road), Ibadan, Oyo State and organised by the Ibadan Field Office of the agency.
The meeting entitled: ‘Making Safety and Integrity the Hallmark of our Business,’ was attended by Operations Controller, DPR, Ibadan, Mr. Oluyemi Olaonipekun; Head of Operations, DPR Ibadan Operations, Mr. Danjuma Sadiq; Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Raheem Tayo, as well as major and independent petroleum marketers, among other stakeholders.
The Zonal Operations Controller, Lagos Zonal Office of DPR, Mr. Wole Akinyosoye, in his keynote address said “It is significant that this meeting is taking place at this time, when the year is winding to an end. The timing affords us the opportunity to take stock and plan anew for the coming year.
“This year, 2018 is quite remarkable, especially when you remember that we started the year in acute scarcity of PMS, which continued nearly into the first quarter. It is significant that the product is now more available and the queues have disappeared.
“It is therefore incumbent on all of us to ensure that the harrowing experience on product scarcity, which coincidentally, started about this time last year, does not reoccur this year, so our people could have a better Yuletide.
“We are confident that the right lessons have been learned from all sides from the 2017 experience and all hands are now on deck to ensure it does not repeat this year.
“Government is leaving no stone unturned. NNPC is working round the clock to keep up with supply and bridge all gaps in all areas; especially in shoring up strategic reserves.
DPR is also committed to constant surveillance to ensure fair practice at the forecourts (petrol stations). We therefore require your (petroleum marketers) support who are the last line to the consumers, to keep the product lines flowing to the general public.”
Akinyosoye stated that safety of lives and property “is also a central theme of oil and gas operations and it is remarkable that safe operations has been the hallmark in the areas here in the last one year. We congratulate you, the operators and the Operations Controller and in this area.
However, we should not rest on our oars, we should also keep improving on safety and safe operations now and in the coming years.”
Akinyosoye, who spoke on the theme of this year’s annual general meeting, emphasised the importance of safety and operations in the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) sub sector, saying that LPG must always be handled well and strictly operate under DPR licence because it is deadlier than petrol.
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He said it is “illegal to operate an LPG skid even in DPR-approved petrol stations. Holding a licence to operate a petrol station does not entitle a dealer to set up a gas skid without obtaining the due approvals for the operation from the Department, and the dealer must always take care to operate in safe manners even under licence.
“We also wish to remind ourselves that gas retailers are only eligible to exchange empty cylinders and not refill them for customers. Such retailers are to operate in shops located in safe areas. They are not to decant gas from one cylinder to another or engage skid or plant operations.
“Let us remind ourselves once again, that storing and handling LPG in unsafe manners is like fiddling with a time bomb. It could bring unimaginable devastation and collateral deaths, especially in highly congested neighbourhoods and there are many unfortunate examples on this regard.”
In his welcome address, Operations Controller, DPR, Ibadan, Mr. Oluyemi Olaonipekun, said as the downstream petroleum industry continues to grow and evolve, “it is imperative that we all brace up to live up to the expectations of government and beneficiaries of our services.
“Safety of lives and property, including our assets should not be taken with levity at this time. No cost incurred on safety is too expensive when compared to the cost when accident occurs. Our industry is capital intensive and the backbone of our economy, hence the need for us to continue striving to ensure we operate with international best practices and preserve our environment.”
Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Raheem Tayo, urged the DPR to strengthen their influence at serving the government early warning by pressing necessary buttons.