No fewer than 167 filling stations have been sealed off by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Ibadan Field Office from January till date.
The seal off was as a result of various operational infractions ranging from under-dispensing of petroleum products, especially petroleum, to inability to present valid operation license, poor environment and unavailability of required safety equipment at the petrol stations.
This is as the Department also warned retail gas sellers dispensing from cylinders to desist from such practices, saying it is illegal and those caught in such practice would be severely sanctioned.
The Operation Controller, Ibadan Field Office of the DPR, Mr Yemi Olaonipekun, made the revelations after leading a team of officials on an inspection tour of petrol and gas stations across Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Tuesday.
Some of the top officials of the Field Office that accompanied Olaonipekun on the inspection include the Operations Manager, Mr Sadiq Ibrahim and Head, Corporate Services, Mrs Ini Ozemekhe, amongst others.
While noting that some of the sealed stations have valid operational license, he said the Agency still insisted on sealing them for other operational inadequacies which was against the stipulated guidelines, adding that such is to serve as deterrent to others.
The inspection exercise also saw three filling stations sealed for various anomalies. Some of those affected include, Forte oil, Tibsco Oil, Amazing oil and Oduwoye Global Service, all within the Akobo-Bashorun axis of Ibadan.
Olaonipekun said, “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. 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 thing at all times.”
He disclosed that the exercise would continue because the DPR wants to ensure that whatever people buy at the forecourt is actually what they have paid for, saying the Department does not want people to be short-changed.
The Operation Controller noted, “And why we continue to monitor gas plants also is that now people are using cooking gas more than before because kerosene is no longer that much available. 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.”
While speaking on retail gas filing outlets sited within the neighbourhood, the Controller said the Department is concerned about the distance of gas outfits to residential areas, adding that there is a distance specified in the Petroleum Regulations and Guidelines that must be met for operations to be alright.
“Selling gas cylinders within a 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,” he disclosed.
Olaonipekun stated: “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 vehicles may be passing or any other source of ignition around that area when you are doing the transfer makes it very dangerous and risky.”
He added that the reason for the exercise by the DPR is to make sure that the right thing is done and that the Department is on top of every activity in oil and gas in Ibadan area, giving the assurance that it would be a continuous exercise.