By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has raised the alarm over alleged connivance of some depot owners in sourcing petroleum products from illegal oil refineries scattered across the Niger Delta region.
Warri Zonal Controller of DPR, Mr. Antai Asuquo, who raised the alarm yesterday said there was an ongoing investigation by his department on alleged connivance of some depot owners with persons to purchase illegally refined products from the creeks.
He warned that anyone caught with a confirmed evidence would have his or her operating license revoked in line with the government policy, adding, “We should be careful of the “3rd parties” that may want to influence us to accept adulterated products into our facilities. It is very tempting. It can ruin our huge investment.
Mr. Asuquo, who spoke during the 2019 Annual General Meeting between DPR and the Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association (DAPPMA) in Warri, said “Investigation going on right now says clearly that some depot owners are into sharp practices, they are conniving with people that burn products in the creeks.
“Any depot caught with confirmed evidence that they indulge in that practice, their licenses will be withdrawn, I am not suggesting, this is government policy,” he said.
Asuquo said the aim of the meeting was to reappraise the performance of the operators in the last one year and how to sustain the success.
The meeting, according to him, was also to brainstorm on how to strengthen the existing mutual relationship and understanding between the regulatory agency and the operators which had led to value addition in the petroleum business, storage and transportation over the years.
The controller urged the people to leverage on the modern technology to optimise their operations and maximise the economy of scale inherrent in the petroleum business.
“Technology is revolving fast and it is those on top of their game in terms of working with the most recent advancement that will have an edge in the business. We need to get the knowledge and spirit on our personnel to sustain our business so that we can remain relevant, we need to continuously expose ourselves to the new technology that will take us to the next decades, “ he said.
Asuquo advised them to always carry out periodic calibration of the measuring instruments for accuracy under the direct supervision of the officials of DPR and also advised them to have their floating rule safety device intact noting that they were dealing with highly inflammable products.
“Tanks that are older than 10 years should be calibrated every five years while those below 10 years should be calibrated every two years because they are exposed to all manner of weather,” he said.
Asuquo urged the people to be safety cautious at all time and manage traffic in their areas of operations in the interest of their business and the host communities.
He warned the depot owners against selling petroleum product above the government approved ex-depot price of N133.28k per litre and also lifting products to unregistered companies for easy monitoring.
Also speaking, Mr. Victor Ojiakor, Team Leader, Operations, DPR, Warri, said that plan was underway to introduce the use of automated machines to clean tanks as against the present method being used by the operators.
Ojiakor also said the regulators had seasoned engineers that monitored the petroleum products in the depot.
The DPR Manager, Gas, Mr. Victor Ohwodiasa, said there was huge potential in the gas industry and urged the operators to leverage on the opportunity to expand their businesses.
“Nigeria is the second largest producer of gas in Africa. Our gas utilisation is growing very fast. We should take advantage of the opportunity available in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is used for cooking, heating, driving vehicles and enhance clean environment,” he said.
Mr. Raphael Biu, Terminal Manager, Matrix Energy Limited, who spoke on behalf of depot owners, assured Matrix would partner DPR in creating awareness on climate change and also enlightened people on the use of cleaner gas.
“Carbon emission of LPG is quite cleaner. We carry out environmental impact assessment, we take safety and environment very seriously,” he said.
Some of the other depots in attendance were: Prudent Energy, Nepal Oil and Gas, AYM Shafa, Rainoil among others