The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has carried out checks on some oil depots in Lagos following reports of increase in ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.
THISDAY gathered that officials of the oil and gas regulatory agency inspected three tank farms located in Apapa area of Lagos, following a tip-off that they were selling above the stipulated ex-depot price of N87.66 officially approved by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
An official of the DPR who confirmed the development explained that the sales coupons of the alleged defaulting companies were inspected to ascertain the authenticity of the information. He, however, declined to disclose the outcome of the investigation, but stated that it was aimed at forestalling any hike in the pump prices of petrol.
The DPR official, however, hinted that other oil depots would be inspected adding that any company found to be selling above the recommended price would be sealed.
Long queues of vehicles resurfaced at filling stations in some parts of Lagos State at the weekend, following reported tightening of supply by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and independent marketers.
THISDAY gathered that the situation had resulted in a sharp increase in the ex-depot price of PMS, from the N87.66 officially recommended by the PPPRA to between N92.50 and N94.50.
It was also learnt that a few petrol stations also cashed in on the situation to hike the pump price from N97 to N120.
The DPR recently warned that marketers who indulge in sharp practices such as product under-dispensing or selling sub-standard petroleum products would be sanctioned and or their licences withdrawn.
Also, as part of measures put in place to ensure transparency in downstream operation, the Director of DPR, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, had directed marketers to dismantle back-loading pumps at their depots to stem petroleum products round tripping.
Other measures listed by the agency included: full deployment of trucking implementation policy: digitalisation of critical retail outlet operational data and migration of license administration to electronic processing platform through the National Data Repository ( NDR), upgrading of the operational standards of depot facilities, installation of metering facilities at the inlet pipeline headers for adequate products accounting, and the replacement of fixed roof with floating roof for all Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) storage tanks to eliminate environmental hazard.
About 100 filling stations were sealed in January this year alone by the DPR for offences ranging from products under-dispensing, hoarding and selling of products above government approved pump prices.