By Christian Njoku
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Cross River Chapter, on Thursday decried the proliferation of illegal filling stations in the state.
Mr Robert Obi, IPMAN Chairman in the state, expressed concern when the association paid a visit to Mr George Ene-Ita, the new Operations Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Cross River Office.
Obi also said that it was worrisome to see “unlicenced and uncertified’’ filling stations operating in the state after marketers go through due process to obtain licence and certification from the DPR.
He alleged that the Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) were not being supplied to the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) depot in Calabar but to private tank farms.
Obi said that this leaves marketers with only one product, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
According to him, the NNPC tanks are available in Calabar but needed to be cleaned up and slightly recalibrated to take DPK and AGO.
“We had complained earlier and the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) promised to send us products but were later told that the Calabar depot do not have enough storage facility.
“The chairman of PPMC called and told me to engage with the managing director, storage, which I did in 2020 before the advent of COVID-19.’’
Obi said that there were still issues as marketers are not receiving those products even when the PPMC is ready to supply them.
He said, “we also have the issue of private tank farms getting PMS from PPMC and selling to us at N162 per litre; if marketers buy PMS at N162 per litre from the tank farms, how much do you expect them to sell at their filling stations.
“To make matters worse, officials of DPR will come to clamp down on us that we are selling above the approved pump price.
“The correction should be done at the tank farms and not at the filling stations.’’
Responding, Ene-Ita described IPMAN as an important association which had invested so much in the oil sector.
He promised that the DPR would assist IPMAN to meet its objective of making petroleum products availabile to the general public.
Ene-Ita said although, some of the issues raised by the association do not fall within the purview of DPR, it was important to see how they could be resolved.
“It is in our best interest that IPMAN remains not just in business but profitably in business.
“Even though a few of the issues are not within our jurisdiction, we will take them before the management so that at that level, there will be an institutional meeting point among relevant agencies,’’ he said. (NAN)