By;BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Operation Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Ibadan Field Office, Mr Yemi Olaonipekun on Tuesday hinted that about 167 filling stations have been sealed off by the Department from January till date.
Mr Olaonipekun dropped this hint in Ibadan after leading a DPR team on an inspection tour of petrol and gas stations across Ibadan
According to the DPR Operation Controller, some of the sealed petrol stations have valid operational license, but that the agency still insisted on sealing them for other operational inadequacies such as ranging from under dispensing of petroleum products, especially petroleum, inability to present valid operation license, poor environment and unavailability of required safety equipment at the petrol station.which were against the stipulated guidelines to serve as deterrent to others.
“Within January and now, we have sealed 167 filling stations for various infractions, but majorly for safety and not having current operating licenses. Although, some of them are also sealed for offences ranging from, under dispensing and if you remember we sealed three today.” he said
Mr Olaosebikan added, “out of the three, two are sealed for not having operating licence while one was sealed because of under dispensing. The exercise will continue because we want to ensure that whatever you are buying at the forecourt is actually what you have paid for.We don’t want people to be short-changed that is why we are trying to ensure that we keep the tempo of activities going.
“The reason for this exercise is to continue to monitor the activities of marketers both Gas Marketers and white product marketers, that is filling stations within our area of operations, which is Oyo State. And it is continuation, we have been doing that and we want to continue to increase the tempo of our surveillance activities to ensure that they are doing the right things at all times.”
Speaking on why DPR is now monitoring gas plants, he stressed that this was because of the fact that “now people are using cooking gas more than before because kerosene is no longer that much available, saying, “as . much as people are using the gas, we expect them to be aware of the safety implications not only for the gas plants owners but for those that are also buying gas for their consumption.”
Commenting on the operation of retail gas filing outlets, he said “what concerns us is the distance of the gas outfit to the living residential areas. There is a specific distance specified in Petroleum Regulations and Guidelines. Once you have meet the specification, it is fine.
“Selling gas cylinders within neighbourhood is not approved, it is illegal and if anybody is caught doing that there is penalty for that. Transferring gas from one cylinder into another cylinder is illegal and we are clamping down on such activity. We seize their cylinders when caught. It is also dangerous because you cannot assume that there won’t be escape of gas into the atmosphere and where vehicle may be passing or any other source of ignition around that area when you are doing the transfer and as such very dangerous and risky.We are trying to make sure that the right thing is done and we are on top of every activities in oil and gas in Ibadan area is our chief reason for this effort and I can assure you that it would be continuous.”