The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Bayelsa says it has sealed nine petrol stations and an illegal liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) station in Yenagoa for expired licences and lack of basic operational equipment.
It was reported that the DPR stations on Thursday, when a team of its officials, led by Mr Ibinabo Jack, Head of Operations in the state field office, paid unscheduled visit to some retail petrol outlets.
It was also reported that the affected filling stations were Nun River Petroleum, Maccary Oil and Gas, Barbizon and an unnamed LPG station said to be operating illegally.
Others were NNPC retail outlet, at Edepie, Otueyal Oil and Gas, Tony’s Green Field Petroleum, Mobil Oil and Gas and another NNPC retail outlet, all in Yenagoa, the state capital.
“The sealing of filling stations is not new and it’s not going to be a one-off thing.Rather, it will be a continuous exercise. We caught some of them dispensing to customers below the variation.
“For instance, a station that is selling at point 41CL of every 10 litres is short-changing the public. In other words, where they ought to get 10 litres, they are given maybe six or seven litres. This is not fair.
“We had earlier given them fliers and posters to caution and enlighten them on how to handle petroleum products. The fliers are meant to be given to motorists and truck drivers on how they should conduct themselves.
“The posters are meant to be pasted in retail outlets also to caution motorists coming in to fill their vehicle tanks so that they will know the safe way or method of handling petroleum products to avoid any untoward incidence at filling stations,” he said.
The DPR chief said that the stations that were placed under seal had committed so many irregularities which were punishable, adding that while some were under dispensing, others did not have fire extinguishers.
“Some did not even have sand buckets and these are things needed for their safety and that of their facilities as well as their customers.
“The penalties depend on their offences. When they report at DPR’s office, appropriate penalties will be spelt out to each of them.
“The DPR is a regulatory body and there are regulations biding the operations of retail outlets which need to be maintained by the operators.
“We saw a retail outlet where they were selling cooking gas and were trans- filling, that is, transferring from one cylinder to another with tube and valve; this is not allowed.
“This is out of practice and it is not acceptable. That is why we closed down that particular gas station and we have instructed them to stop the practice,” Jack said.
According to him, anybody who wants to buy cooking gas should be made to do so through exchange of cylinders as against transferring gas from one cylinder to another.
“All the operators who have licenses have been given necessary caution, but this particular one has no licence and where he is operating from is not acceptable.
“If he has to operate, he needs to have a separate kiosk where he will be giving out gas cylinders and collecting empty ones from the buyers,” he said.