The Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) has closed down at least 42 illegal gas stations in Akwa Ibom State for allegedly engaging in unsafe practices.
DPR operations controller in the state, Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye,who disclosed this to journalists in Eket local government area yesterday said the stations were shut down between Jan to Feb. 2020.
He lamented that the DPR had in recent times observed unsafe practices by the gas operators doing retailers business.
Kingsley-Sundaye advised landlords to stop giving shops to people who operate illegal gas stations in order to guard against endangering the lives and property of residents.
He said that the department of has said that 80 per cent of illegal station have vacated the streets of the Akwa Ibom.
He noted that most of the illegal gas operators are out of the streets because they could not meet up with the required operation standards.
“Those that are doing illegal refilling points, over decorating their shops with nosile without ventilation are visually off the streets of Akwa Ibom.
“There are positive response for resellers, if you go to uyo mostly, you will see good numbers of gas plant operators doing cylinder exchange instead of discounting which is illegal and not required by any standard,” he said.
Kingsley-Sundaye noted that a good numbers of those doing illegal gas stations had left the business to do other businesses.
He explained that the department had made them to understand that refilling of gas cylinders stops at the depot and not shops in the streets.
The Operations Controller said the illegal gas stations are not springing up nor expanding but their business is getting smaller.
“The good thing is that the market is not spreading again, we are trying to resolved the problems that is already been created by an increase.
“The Department go to them and give them the requirements to know the dangers they are putting themselves and we are getting results,” Kingsley-Sundaye said.
Kingsley-Sundaye said the department had sensitised Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), operators to ensure that their facilities are constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with approved technical standards.
He said that henceforth applications of LPG operators and gas owners would be done online to ease their registrations.
He said the department would visit facilities of gas operators to check access and check their safety in the state in the second quarter of the year.
“We will access them and look at the safety provision that are there that will enable them operate safely and the one that did not meet up the standard, we either ask to upgrade them or ask them to stop for the time been until they do the right thing,”he said.
Kingsley-Sundaye said the department would intensified their surveillance through street to streets to educate gas operators on the dangers of gas in the state.