The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Tuesday said it had sealed no fewer than 55 petrol stations in Port-Harcourt and environs in the last six weeks for various offences.
Mr Bassey Nkanga, Operations Controller, DPR, Port Harcourt Zone, disclosed this to newsmen as the department continued with its three-day inspection and surveillance of petroleum outlets in Rivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DPR had on Tuesday launched the exercise across the country to enforce regulations in the downstream petroleum sector.
Nkanga said the sealed petrol stations were among the over 500 outlets visited during the period, adding that most of the stations were caught in the act of under-dispensing products to unsuspecting users.
He said others were sealed for offences bordering on hoarding, over-pricing, over-dispensing, operating without valid licence, obstruction as well as pump adjustment, among others.
“So, today, we are continuing our three-day inspection and surveillance of filling stations and other outlets to complement the gains that have been achieved in the last few weeks.
“Today alone, we visited 40 stations, five of which were sealed for under-dispensing, obstruction, operating without valid license and workers abandoning their stations on sighting DPR team.
“We will also take the surveillance outside Port Harcourt to places like Eleme, among other areas. It is a nationwide exercise and a continuous process,” he said.
Nkanga said that marketers caught under-dispensing petroleum products would pay fine of N100,000 for each pump used for the illicit act.
He, however, said that DPR was impressed with the level of compliance to regulations by most petroleum marketers operating in the state.
The department, he said, held a stakeholders meeting recently with members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN)and others on the need to comply with regulations.
“We met with marketers to inform them that we will not tolerate any form of non-compliance to regulations and any attempt to cheat the public.
“We warned them that such illicit activities will be resisted with severe sanction meted to anyone caught defrauding Nigerians.
“So, it is based on the outcome of our meeting that we are seeing this level of high compliance in the operational activities of marketers. I hope this will continue,” he said.
The DPR boss added that the department was currently meeting with private petroleum depot owners in the state to bridge the gap in the supply chain of diesel following complaints by marketers.
He advised motorists against panic buying of petroleum products in the state, saying the Federal Government had made adequate arrangement to ensure availability at all times.
Nkanga urged the public to report any erring petrol station and gas facilities to the department, promising that the department would always take prompt action.
NAN reports that the five stations sealed by DPR on Tuesday are Total in Rumuomasi, Total along Ikwerre Road, Avina in Oilmil, MRS Garrison and Excelsis both in Elelenwo.