By Emmanuel Ajibulu
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has stated that improper handling of product and adulteration with a product of lower flash point are root causes of kerosine explosions in the country.
This disclosure was made on Monday, October 16, 2017 by DPR when the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream led by the Chairman Hon Joseph Akinlaja paid an oversight visit to the government establishment.
The delegation during the visit requested statistics on the incident of kerosine explosion and the sources of adulterated kerosine among private depots in the country.
On the issue of Apapa traffic quagmire, Hon Akinlaja specifically asked DPR to provide its own workable roadmap on how Apapa traffic gridlock could be decongested which unfortunately has caused the citizenry huge socio-economic loss and untold hardship.
He further called on relevant authorities to effectively empower DPR epsecially in the area of fiscal allocation for it to carry out its statutory responsibilities for the ultimate goal of ensuring that petroleum products imported by marketers met the required quality and safety standards to avoid disaster and economic sabotage.
While making reference to how DPR turned back vessels identified to be carrying adulterated products meant for local utilization and consumption, Hon Akinlaja tasked the government agency to provide detailed information on petroleum industry activities, crude oil production, lifting, allocations, exports by destination and receipts, gas production, utilisation, sales, transmission and exports.
In reaction to some of the requests of the Chairman and his colleagues at the corporate head quarters of DPR, the Director of the agency Dr. Mordecai Ladan with the assistance of his head of Downstream, Alhaji Ndanusa Umaru said all locally refined or imported kerosine volumes meet regulatory quality specifications and that discharge and transportation of refined or imported volumes is done within the shortest possible time to avert unnecessary scarcity and ensure adequate distribution.
They further disclosed that DPR usually embark on routine surveillance to ensure the available products are sold to the public with high quality and integrity of dispensing pumps, and that the procedure and approval cycle for import permit has also been optimized.
DPR confirmed it is already interfacing with Lagos State government to work out sustainable solutions to the Apapa traffic gridlock. Dr Ladan also berated recalcitrant truck drivers who have no business in Apapa and whose names are not on the manifest but still bring their trucks to wreck additional havoc, he advised that such drivers must be accordingly sanctioned by relevant law enforcement agencies.
The DPR helsman however attributed kerosine scarcity to drastic reduction in the quantity of kerosine imported by NNPC leaving the burden on major and independent marketers. Moreover, he maintained that recent closure of Kaduna and Warri refineries also tighten supply sources.
He added that importation remains the dominant source of supply with more than 80% being discharged into Lagos depots. Responding specifically to statistics of kerosine accident Ladan affirmed that the House committee will get feedback in a matter of a weeks.
The management after the interactive session took the honourable members on a facility tour to their IT unit where data concerning petroleum downstream operations in the country are collated, processed and stored.
“We have good records of statutory responsibility of ensuring compliance to petroleum laws, regulations and guidelines in the Oil and Gas Industry. The discharge of these responsibilities involves monitoring of operations at drilling sites, producing wells, production platforms and flowstations, crude oil export terminals, refineries, storage depots, pump stations, retail outlets, any other locations where petroleum is either stored or sold, and all pipelines carrying crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products” said the director.
Ladan in continuity disclosed that DPR is saddled with the responsibility of supervising all Petroleum Industry operations being carried out under licences and leases in the country.
“I am happy to also state here that we monitor the Petroleum Industry operations to ensure that they are in line with national goals and aspirations including those relating to Flare down and domestic gas supply obligations and ensuring that health safety and environment regulations conform with national and international best oil field practice.”