The Department of Petroleum Resources has warned fuel depot owners against hoarding petroleum products in their facilities, saying it would sanction erring operators.
The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, issued the warning on Wednesday in Lagos, according to a statement by the agency’s Head of Public Affairs, Mr Paul Osu.
Auwalu said the warning was necessitated by reports received by the agency on the activities of some depot owners who had created artificial scarcity by hoarding products in some parts of the country.
According to him, the depot owners’ nefarious activities are causing Nigerians untold hardships.
He said from available records, there was product sufficiency in the country, adding that there was no need for “such practices by these group of unpatriotic citizens”.
Auwalu said the DPR, as the licence issuers to all oil and gas facilities in Nigeria including the depots, would not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions on any depot found wanting in this regard.
He further stated that the agency had set up a special task force to intensify surveillance and monitoring of all depots to check this anomaly.
The director added that the DPR would continue to provide its regulatory focus of quality, quantity, integrity and safety for the effective operations of the downstream sector.
Already, some fuel marketers had started adjusting their petrol pump prices amid the supply shortage facing private depots in Apapa.
Some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states have increased the pump price of petrol to N170 per litre on Tuesday from N162 per litre.
A top executive in an oil marketing company described the demand for petrol in the country as too high, adding that something had to be done to reduce it.
He said, “The demand has gone up, and NNPC will struggle to supply. We are already feeling that. So, if we do not arrive at some speedy resolution, we will soon arrive at a point in time where there will be challenges to security in supply.”
He added that the demand currently was unreasonable because the product was by far cheaper than it was in the surrounding countries.