By Uthman Salami
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has reopened eight petroleum tank farms shutdown by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority ( LASPPPA) in Ijegun-Egba, Satellite Town, Lagos.
Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Lagos Zone, who directed the reopening of the depots said the agency lacked the constitutional power to shut them down because the industry was clearly under the Exclusive List.
Cardoso also noted that sealing of the tank farms could led to disruption in supply of petroleum products which would eventually lead to scarcity across the country.
He said, the depots reopened by DPR were : Wosbab Energy Solutions, Emadeb Energy Services Ltd., Mao Petroleum Ltd., Menj Oil Ltd., Oceanpride Energy Services Ltd.,A.A. Rano Nigeria Ltd.,AIPEC Oil and Gas Ltd. and First Royal Oil Ltd.
According to him, Ijegun-Egba has 13 tank farm operators which receive between 35 per cent to 40 per cent of petroleum products coming to Lagos before being transported to other areas.
Cardoso said: “We were told that LASPPPA sealed the depots today (Monday) for not having their planning permits.
“We don’t believe that is the right approach because these people are providing service to the nation and if you disrupt that service there will be fuel scarcity everywhere.
“This is why we are taking proactive action to immediately reopen the tank farms and if LASPPPA have any issue with the operators they should come to us to see how it can be resolved.”
He maintained that oil and gas business was a regulated environment and under the exclusive legislative list as provided by the 1999 Constitution.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Assembly is endowed with exclusive power to execute on any item on the exclusive list.
“And arising from that constitutional powers the National Assembly enacted the Petroleum Act of 1969.
“This act regulate all matters relating to petroleum such as Importation, handling, storage , distribution of petroleum and petroleum products and other flammable oils.
“This act also provide the granting of licence to import, handle, store, sell, distribute any petroleum product in Nigeria.”
He said, as a result of this, all persons that engage in the business are licensed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources through DPR.
According to him, the DPR collaborates with other relevant Federal and State Government agencies for requisite permits and approvals before the issuance of the licences.
“So, any issue arising from the licensee you need to call on the licensor who is the Federal Government; then we will look at the issue and see how we can resolve it,”he said.
Cardoso also emphasised that the revenue collected by DPR on the licences would be shared by the the three tiers of government.