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The Department of Petroleum Resources has reopened eight petroleum tank farms shut down by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority in Lagos, saying the state-owned agency lacked the constitutional backing to close the depots.

Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Lagos Zone, Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, who directed the reopening of the depots in Ijegun-Egba, Satellite Town said in a statement that the oil and gas business was a regulated environment and under the exclusive legislative list as provided by the 1999 Constitution, which exempts it from the purview of LASPPA.

Cardoso also noted that sealing of the tank farms could lead to disruption in the supply of petroleum products which would eventually lead to scarcity across the country.

He listed the depots reopened by DPR as 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.

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“This is why we are taking proactive action to immediately reopen the tank farms and if LASPPPA has any issue with the operators, they should come to us to see how it can be resolved.”

Cardoso added, “The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Assembly is endowed with exclusive power to execute on any item on the exclusive list. Arising from those constitutional powers the National Assembly enacted the Petroleum Act of 1969.

“This act regulates all matters relating to petroleum such as importation, handling, storage, distribution of petroleum and petroleum products and other flammable oils.

“It also provides the granting of a licence to import, handle, store, sell, distribute any petroleum product in Nigeria.”

He said that the rule made sure that all persons that engage in the business were 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.

He added that any issue arising from the licensee needed the attention of the licensor.

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