‘Over-regulating LPG market will send operators aground’
Reacting to issues raised by LPG marketers calling on the federal government to checkmate indiscriminate deployment of LPGs, otherwise known as cooking gas, to filling stations and retail outlets without addressing the risks involved, some stakeholders have said the move would send operators aground.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilo, there is nothing wrong with setting up skids at petrol stations as long as operators deploy the use of modern-day technology equipment.
“I do not think that there is anything wrong with it. All operators have to do is space it in such a way that there are shut off valves using the complete modern day technology to run their operations, if you drive people from doing skids, you will drive them underground which would make people bury tanks at obscure places where the eyes cannot see and it will be bad for the community. If they over-regulate the LPG market, they will send people aground. There are people filling gases in their houses, the prune eyes of people cannot see them and this is not safe,” he said.
Speaking at the formal opening of its 11th filling station, Ilo however expressed optimism about the nation’s oil and gas downstream sector, noting that the sector has seen a high level of sanity with most of the operators adhering to global best practices.
“The downstream oil and gas sector is optimistic and promising; there is sanity, the standards are coming up and if you look at the standards on a daily basis, people are raising the standards and with the trend of population growth, I think there is lots of prospect for the sector,” he added.
Responding to operators complaints about thin margins, he said margins would generally grow thin because the oil and gas downstream business is voluminous, but advised that operators not to short-change the unsuspecting Nigerian consumers.
He added: “Operators should know that margins generally would grow thin, because it is a volume business, we must make sure that we are able to expand our markets, by bringing more people into the market. People should make sure a litre remains a litre despite the thinning margin.
Petroleum business is a spirit business and that is why it is called Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) whereas if you cheat the unsuspecting consumers, it would have a reverberating effect on your business. It is a very spiritual product and if you cheat people, you will not last.
According to him, Petrocam is planning to set up about 50 petrol filling stations over the next five years in the country.“In the space of time we are moving fast because we started this expenditure in 2014. We have been growing exponentially and in terms of the geometry I think we are doing very well. We are going to open another one next month and in December this year. The filling station we are officially opening today is a one stop shop, it has a lube, it is solar powered and we are not on national grid. The capacity of the station is about 270000 litres,” he said.