●Orders 9,000 to upgrade facilities
Nigeria’s oil industry regulator, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has concluded the forensic audit of petrol retail outlets across the country, declaring that the official number is now 33,333.
The agency, which confirmed this in a statement sent to newsmen, added that it had ordered 9,000 petrol stations, being the 27 per cent of the total units uncovered through the audit across the country, to immediately commence the upgrade of their facilities to allow them dispense gas to vehicles for transportation.
This is in furtherance of Federal Government’s National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP, promoted by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which seeks to encourage increased gas usage; serve as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to petrol for transportation, with the introduction of autogas and deepen the usage of cooking gas.
In the statement signed by its Head of Public Relations, Mr. Paul Osu, Director of Petroleum Resources of the DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, said this directive, among others, was aimed at deepening the utilisation of domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG and autogas as alternative fuels for Nigerians.
In addition, he stated that the directives were in furtherance of Federal Government’s aspirations to provide affordable fuels and ensure domestic gas penetration and expansion in Nigeria while entrenching price freedom for Nigerians.
According to him, the DPR had carried out nationwide audit of all retail outlets in Nigeria and had categorized them into three — categories 1, 2 and 3 -– with a view to ascertain readiness for deployment of Add-On facilities for gas products.
Auwalu revealed that about 9,000 retail outlets, representing 27 per cent of total number of retails outlets in Nigeria, were listed in Category 1, and had been identified as suitable for immediate integration of Add-On facilities based on robust safety assessment and technical considerations by DPR.
He further stated that DPR had directed all Category 1 retail outlet operators to commence immediate installation of modular add-on facilities or full-scale stand-alone plants and update their DPR operating licences accordingly.
He, however, added that all operators of retail outlets in categories 2 and 3, whose facilities do not meet the minimum requirements or do not have sufficient land area, were encouraged to apply for stand-alone LPG, CNG, LNG or auto gas facilities (full-scale or modular) under an incentivized regulatory regime.
Sarki further stated that the DPR had also approved the deployment of skidmounted modularised/containerized LPG/ Autogas handling systems and other intrinsically safe systems for gas storage and handling to promote affordability, accessibility, and availability of the products.
He said: “The DPR as an opportunity house and business enabler, encourages investments in auto conversion, production of composite cylinders and ancillaries (valves, hoses, among others) for domestic LPG, CNG, LNG and Autogas penetration.