Indiscriminate citing of filling stations in odd places across Nigerian cities would continue unless the town planning authorities are called to order, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said.
The oil regulatory agency accused town planning authorities in the various states of the country of giving approvals for the citing of filling stations in illegal locations, thereby jeopardising its work.
Oliver Okparaojiako, deputy director/head, downstream monitoring and regulation, DPR, stated this in Lagos, at the First Downstream Forum organised by the Energy Institute.
According to him, “One problem we have at DPR is that while we monitor the construction and operation of petrol stations, town planning authorities approve where retail outlets are cited. If town planning authorities have already approved cites that do not meet our requirements, we run into problems.
“You see waivers. You get calls from highly placed individuals and so on. So, in this process, what we do is to send our staff to the town planning authorities, to buy into their system and let them consider our own parameters in their grant of approvals.”
Okparaojiako also said that Nigeria needs modular refineries as the four currently in use are bogus and have not supported the yield of products. He said, “In Nigeria, we have refineries that are bogus, producing large volumes of residue that must be cracked before you get petroleum products. And these units are in most cases not functioning, and so the size has not really supported the yield of products.
“We are looking at these barriers and as well looking towards modular refineries, that is refineries that are small and produce to its maximum, not trying to produce to the Nigerian specifications.
“If we are to be a hub in bunkering, we are not going to expect our diesel to meet the international specification. And so, we need to have a refinery that will produce all the specifications and not the one that are typical with Nigeria. And these refineries are not supposed to be too big. The world is now talking about managing the volume you can handle. Start with the little volume and progress.”
Also speaking, Dayo Adeshina, president, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, LPG, Association, said the consumption level of LPG in the country is at a low level due to unfavourable government policies.
According to him, “The consumption level of Liquefied Natural Gas, LPG, should be about 5 million tones a year because of our population size, but Nigeria exports 4 million tones instead.
“To achieve that tonnage, government policy should encourage citizens to make use of LPG in place of kerosene. For example, cars should be running on LPG. LPG should be the household cooking fuel of choice as well.
“Lagos State for one has made it a policy that LPG should be the cooking fuel of choice. They do not want to see kerosene or firewood. Those are dirty fuels. LPG is a cleaner fuel. The same thing should happen at the federal level,” Adeshina argued.
Adeshina explained that kerosene should be used principally for aviation purposes and not for domestic use as was obtainable in the past. “Kerosene is aviation fuel. Let’s divert kerosene to the aviation industry and not to households. That’s what used to happen,” he said.
The LPGA President also justified the high cost of gas cylinders in the country thus; “The cylinder manufacturing plants at Ibadan and Abeokuta have been shut down. If you are importing flat steel and the cost of production is extremely high (as you know, power is a big problem), that means what you are producing locally is higher in price than what you are importing. So people won’t patronise you. That’s exactly what is happening.”