The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the apex regulator of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry appears to have woken up from its long years of slumber as it has suspended the importation permit of six petrol depots in Lagos and Calabar for selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, above the official ex-depot price of N77.66 per litre.
Other companies whose permit were suspended are Samon Petroleum, Fynefield Petroleum in Calabar, Cross River State and Stallionaire Petroleum in Lagos. The regulatory body alleged that the companies sold fuel above the government regulated price of N77.66k at the depot.
The DPR also slammed N10 million fine on each of the companies and directed the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to revoke the companies’ allocations.
The DPR said it had put in place all necessary machinery to curb all incidents of profiteering, hoarding and other unwholesome practices by operators.
“The public is hereby advised to shun panic buying and report any noticeable infraction
to the DPR office nearest to them,” the statement said.
The action was the first time in a decade that the organisation would apply sanctions of such magnitude on erring operators, who allegedly shortchanged Nigerians, especially during the period of crisis.
The agency has over the years demonstrated lack of capacity to regulate the depot owners, who sell products at exorbitant prices to retail outlets and has concentrated efforts in sanctioning the filling stations that sell above official prices, despite the fact that they also buy above the official prices at the depots.
But citing its powers under the Petroleum Control Act of 1967 and the Petroleum Act of 1969 (as amended), the agency in a circular with reference number PI/PAD/25/Vol.1/360 of December 11, 2015, stated that the importation permit of the six depots had been suspended for three months for selling PMS above the stipulated official price of N77.66.
According to the agency, Folawiyo was sanctioned for allowing Sahara Petroleum to use its depot to breach the stipulated price.
The level of involvement of Capital Oil was not clear as the company does not import petrol but is only used by the Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other marketers to sell their imported products.