Stop purchasing illegally-refined crude oil products, DPR warns depot owners

THE Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned depot owners against conniving with persons to purchase illegally refined petroleum products from the creeks.

Warri Zonal Operations Controller, Mr Antai Asuquo, gave the warning on Friday during the 2019 Annual General Meeting between DPR and Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association (DAPPMA) in Warri.

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.

Asuquo said there was an ongoing investigation that some depot owners now work with third parties to buy illegally refined products from the creeks.

He warned that anyone caught with confirmed evidence would have his or her operating licence revoked in line with the government policy.

“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.

“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“Any depot caught with confirmed evidence that they indulge in that practice, their licences will be withdrawn; I am not suggesting, this is government policy,” he said.

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The controller urged the people to leverage modern technology to optimise their operations and maximise the economy of scale inherent in the petroleum business.

“Technology is evolving 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 depot owners to always carry out periodic calibration of the measuring instruments for accuracy under the direct supervision of the officials of DPR.

He 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 manner method being used by the operators.

Ojiakor also said the regulator had seasoned engineers that monitored petroleum products in depots.

Mr Victor Ohwodiasa, DPR, Manager, Gas, said there was huge potential in the gas industry and urged the people 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 the clean environment,” he said.

Mr Raphael Biu, Terminal Manager, Matrix Energy Limited who spoke on behalf of the other depot owners said 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 an 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 and Rainoil, among others, while also in attendance were representatives of the Nigeria Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps.

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