The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Enugu State has warned petroleum products marketers against arbitrary hike in pump prices and illegal pump adjustments during the Yuletide. The Operations Controller of the agency, Enugu Field Office, Mr Okoro Okechukwu, issued the warning on Thursday during a stakeholders’ workshop in Enugu. Okechukwu said that the agency would deploy a special surveillance team to monitor petrol and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stations to checkmate sharp practices by some marketers.
He said that it was unacceptable for unscrupulous marketers to cheat unsuspecting customers, warning that fraudulent stations would henceforth be shutdown.
He also said that DPR was worried by the construction and operation of oil and gas facilities and manufacturing of improper tools and storage facilities by unqualified individuals. Okechukwu, however, said that the agency had begun a safety awareness campagn for the handling and marketing of petroleum products, especially LPG in the state.
He said that the initiative had greatly increased safety awareness among operators in the rural areas. He, however, said that in spite of the progress made in the sector, there were other issues that needed to be addressed, such as the continued use of untrained staff in oil and gas facilities. He also described the use of unaccredited vendors in the training of station workers and attendants as a major setback in achieving safety in the sector.
“The good news is that most of these challenges have been addressed by the agency’s “Minimum Industry Safety Training for Downstream Operators” initiative.
“These are innovations that will make for a seamless execution of the DPR mandate of creating business opportunities and as a business enabler in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria,” he said.
Okechukwu said that the initiative would ensure that all tools, facilities and industry operators complied with the DPR safety requirements and standards.
“We call on marketers to ensure that their permits and licences are up to date and the safety of their facilities and investments given topmost priority,” he said. Also, the Manager Operations, Mr Atilola Akinyemi, said that the agency was working to professionalize the oil and gas industry in order to reduce the inherent hazards.
Akinyemi said, “considering how inflammable the oil and gas is, we do not want to play with how the sector is managed in order to get investors interested in it.”
The workshop was attended by representatives of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, petrol tanker drivers, major marketers and LPG dealers, amongst others.
The theme of the workshop was: “Safety: Benchmark of Oil and Gas Operations”.