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Peter B

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Tank farms- House Raises Alarm
« on: June 06, 2010, 10:47:55 PM »
The House of Represent-atives Committee on the Downstream Sector has raised concern over the poor state of tank farms in Lagos, particularly as it relates to standards and location.

The committee said  some tank farms in Lagos cannot pass for filling stations, suggesting that such depots risk sanction for operating below the standard recommended by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), regulator of the oil and gas sector

The lawmakers vowed to recommend the relocation of petroleum  tank farms located near residential houses, military and police barracks, as well as other sensitive areas.
They blamed the poor state of the nation’s refineries for the delay in the take-off of the Federal Government’s policy on deregulation of the downstream petroleum industry.

Speaking at the end of the committee’s inspection of depots and tank farms  in Lagos at the weekend, Chairman of the committee Hon. Clever Ikisikpo disclosed that since the Federal Government could relocate the country’s capital from Lagos to Abuja, there is no tank farm in the country that is beyond relocation, if the need arises.

“Well, we are not trying to give verdict now; we will go home, sit down and write our report with what we saw. But you can’t even go into some ancient tank farms that we saw. We are even asking what the Lagos State government is doing with their environmental laws that you see a tank farm and you cannot put your legs there.

"Those of us who are not from the riverine areas cannot even go in; you might fall down and get drowned. So, what are we talking about? We need standard and believe me, we are going to write our report. You are deceiving yourself if you believe that we can’t pull your tank farm from where you are because this is a committee work that we have come to do and we are going to do the right thing,”he said.

He said the committee embarked on the inspection based on a motion placed before the House of Representatives in December 2009, which alleged that some tank farms are located near residential areas, schools, military and police barracks, as well as other sensitive areas.

“So, we are here to identify those ones. We have gone round all the tank farms in Lagos for now and we are happy because what we have seen will give us a first hand information concerning the standard of tank farms in Nigeria,” he added.
The committee also pledged to wade into alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2010 second quarter import permit to marketers by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

The decision to revisit the incident followed complaints by the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Limited Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah on behalf of the aggrieved marketers to the effect that the agency has not been transparent in the manner it allocates products.
Ubah had told the committee that most marketers that have quality fuel storage facilities in the country were shortchanged in the fuel allocation scheme, while those  whose depots do not meet the stipulated standard were favoured.

In the first allocation, they gave Capital Oil 30,000metric tonnes, while companies that do not have up to 10 per cent of our facilities got between 150,000 and 200, 000metric tonnes. As we were discussing this, they cancelled that allocation and approved another one within six days and they didn’t give us even one litre in that one they approved.

"We don’t have problem with PPPRA but 70 per cent of those they give these allocations want to use our depot to bring in their allocation after collecting money from the government and we think that this is very unjust. I want the members to address this issue with relevant government agencies that give product allocation, so that either they share it according to everybody’s capacity or they share it equally. I am not agitating for them to give me, but I am agitating for them to give everybody, even if it is on equal basis. That will be very fair,Ó he said.

Responding, the committee chairman condemned the alleged sharp practices, saying that if they committee had known about the development, they would have dragged the PPPRA into the inspection tour to face the marketers.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Mr. Thomas Olawore also condemned the alleged irregularities in the products distribution and urged that all marketers should be given equal treatment. He also urged the committee to exercise restraints in its recommendation as regards the tank farms, saying condemnation of the tank farms was not the solution.

But the committee chairman insisted that if bad things are not condemned, there would be no progress.
THISDAY reported exclusively that controversy had trailed the sudden withdrawal and review of the second quarter import permit by the PPPRA, six days after the approval was handed over to importers of petroleum products.

It was gathered that after the government gave the marketers permit to import about 3.7million metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on the 31 of March, the permit was withdrawn on April 6 and a new one issued in a manner that was alleged to have favoured about three marketers to the detriment of others.
Under the new allocation, the number of marketers was reduced from 53 to 25 and the allocation of the marketers that did not make the new list was reallocated to three marketers.