Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, has described as unacceptable, the exorbitant price of kerosene, DPK, especially in the Edo/Delta zone, which the members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had blamed on the private depot owners.
The DPR said it was at a loss why the private depot owners were allegedly selling kerosene to the marketers far above the Federal Government’s authorised price of N50 per litre.
The Warri Zonal Operations Manager, Warri Zonal Office of the DPR, Mr Olumide Adeleke, who stated this at the DPR’s maiden annual general meeting with the Petroleum Products Depot Owners (DAPPMA) in Warri yesterday, lamented over the development.
Adeleke, who was represented at the occasion by Warri DPR’s Head (Gas), Mr Samuel Bajomo, queried the depot owners’ practice of selling Kerosene to the marketers at a price that was higher than what should be the selling price at the commercial filling stations.
He warned that the DPR was “determined to get to the bottom of the issue” as the regulatory subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) regarded such profiteering activities of the DAPPMA members as “short-changing the Federal Government and Nigerians”.
“No depot owner is authorized to sell DPK or kerosene to the marketers beyond the N43 per litre regulated price for them; while the marketers should not sell above N50 per litre of kerosene”, the operations controller emphasised.
He wondered what could have motivated the apparently Shylock attitude of the private depot owners, noting that the Federal Government was subsidising kerosene and premium motor spirit (petrol) by bearing the financial stress on behalf of the depot owners in order to cushion the burden of Nigerians who largely use the products.
He also advised the DAPPMA members to minimise as much as possible the loading or discharging of products at night for safety reasons and against the backdrop of “the poor response to emergency situations in our country”. At its meeting with Edo and Delta states’ IPMAN members on Thursday, the marketers specifically blamed the high cost of kerosene in the country on the private depot owners, who they alleged were selling kerosene to them at between N92 and N102 per litre.
The Warri branch Chairman of IPMAN, Chief Akpovire S. Edafevwotu, who also absolved members of the association of any blame concerning the adulteration of petroleum products sternly condemned by the DPR, explained reason for the prohibitive price of kerosene at the few filling stations selling between N120 and N140.
However, the representatives of some of the depot owners, including Optima, Matrix Oil, Total, Rain Oil and Nepal, claimed that they actually sold kerosene to the marketers at between N65 and N66 per litre, blaming several factors including the long interval between payment for the products and the actual time of delivery.
They also accused the independent marketers of raising kerosene price unduly while blaming the high cost on DAPPMA members, saying they remained reasonable, hence they still sold PMS at the official price of N88 per litre.
Although, the DPR maintained that it found the DAPPMA excuses as spurious and “unconvincing”, the depot owners said that they were seeking authorisation from the NNPC to import kerosene, instead of the present practice of buying from the Petroleum Products Pricing and Marketing Company (PPMC).
However, the operations controller’s representative, Bajomo, described the meeting as useful, stressing that since the DPR was responsible for regulating oil and gas in the country and for collecting revenue for the government through the issuance of various licences, the DPR would continue to demand that all the laws, rules and regulations were strictly adhered to by the operators.
Nonetheless, the DPR had, earlier in the week, similarly convened an annual general meeting with Major Petroleum Products Marketers.
The meeting, which also had unit heads of the DPR, including the Head (Downstream Sector), Mr Martins Chuks Eluji, was attended by representatives of ConOil, MRS, OANDO, Total as well as the Retail unit of the NNPC (NNPC Mega Filling stations in Edo and Delta) and the PPMC.
At the meeting with IPMAN, the NNPC Warri Depot Manager, Mr Ali Abdallah, revealed that the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), which was recently shut following a fire outbreak, would next week resume operations with pumping of products expected to resume in about two weeks.