No fewer than seven Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) retail outlets and filling station in Rivers have been shut down by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for operating without valid licences.
Mr Bassey Nkanga, Zonal Operations Controller of the agency, made the disclosure during a meeting with Petroleum Products Marketers Association and Petrol Tankers Drivers Union (PTD) on Friday in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the enforcement of safety requirements/sanction against violators became necessary to support effective regulation in the downstream sector.
“We are in a very peculiar season, the harmattan season when fire incidents usually occur at filling stations. This challenge had, in most cases, occurred as a result of avoidable mistakes, hence, the need to step up safety consciousness amongst stakeholders in the sector.
“We are in continuous search for any filling station operating without licence in the zone, gone are the days when it took us so much time to process licences.
“Currently, with our digital innovations, it takes barely hours to get that done,” he said.
The DPR zonal controller said the department was also looking at the quality of petroleum products as well as accurate and efficient dispensing to customers.
“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 said.
On product quality, Nkanga said that the agency had geared up operations toward tracking down filling station operators who patronised 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 Area that we have shut down because one of the products they were selling did not meet our specification.
Nkanga said that the agency, in fulfillment of 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 compliance level in their operations.