By Edeki Igafe
Warri (Delta) – The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Warri Zonal Office on Tuesday said it has sealed 10 gas plants and 40 gas retail shops over various offences in Delta.
Engr. Victor Ohwodiasa, the Manager, Gas division, Warri led a surveillance team of the regulatory agency on the routine exercise on behalf of the Operations Controller, DPR, Warri, Mr Antai Asuquo.
While addressing newsmen in Warri on Tuesday, Asuquo said the gas plants and shops were sealed between Jan 7 and Jan 31 in Asaba, Agbor and its environs.
He said that eight of the gas plants were shut down for operating illegally while the other two plants were sealed for inadequate safety facilities.
He said the gas shops were closed over offences bordering on operating without valid licenses, operating in an unsafe environment and decamping from bigger cylinder to smaller cylinders.
Asuquo said that beyond sanctioning, the regulatory agency also used the opportunity to sensitise the public on things they needed to know about gas.
“DPR will continue to monitor gas plants and gas retail outlets with a view to ensuring that they operate at best and safest manner as possible, we want to ensure that the environment they cite their gas plants are conducive.
“The Federal Government says gas utilisation, penetration and commercialisation should be encouraged and it is trying to drive the policy.
“In driving the policy, DPR being the regulator must ensure that whatever is being done in that respect is done in a safest and applying international best practices.
“This is why we would continue to visit gas plants, retail outlets and do environmental assessment, to check the safety concerns in those places and ensure that the operators are properly trained to handle gas being a very volatile substance.”
“If you are doing business, you should not endanger people’s lives and properties, we will not tolerate that,” he said.
Asuquo said that DPR would continue to sustain the surveillance to ensure that gas and LPG were properly handled in the safest manner.
He, however, said that the level of compliance was on the increase hoping that the development would be sustained.
“The level of compliance has increased tremendously; we now carry out surveillance on weekly basis as against monthly because of what is happening in the country.
“The awareness is high, aside looking at their facilities, we equally use the opportunity to call people around the environment, Market places and Motor Parks and do sensitisation.
“We tell them what they need to know about gas and also encouraged them to notify us whenever they see people handling gas in an unsafe manner,” he said.