By Ike Uchechukwu

The Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority ,NMDPRA has advocated for the dredging of the “draft” of Calabar channel to allow bigger vessels to berth at the various oil platforms.

The Executive for Distribution systems,storage& Retail infrastructure , NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha said this after a facility tour of depot’s ( Tank Farms) and Jetty’s belonging to oil and Gas companies at the Calabar Port.

Ukoha disclosed that the purpose of the tour was to be well Informed about the challenges facing players and stakeholders in the industry and the issues they would like them ( Authority) to address on their behalf.

His words : “The peak consumption period for petroleum products is usually November and January ending ,it was important for us to stabilize both supply and distribution In a bid to guarantee availability.

“The inspection started off in Lagos ,Warri ,and Calabar ,during this period we take the opportunity to listen to industry players and stakeholders about the challenges and issues they are facing as well as address them on their behalf.

“Part of our mandate under the PIA is to enable this market to be grown very quickly .

“As my Chief Executive has continued to say,the Industry itself must engage with us.We must collaborate and we must keep communicating , so it is in that sense that these inspections are done,to see what the infrastructure is and also take feedbacks from the industry as well.So as we prioritize moving forward we address those as well.

“There is always room for improvement ,the feedbacks I will take away direct from the industry players here for instance,they have raised some concerns including the draft of the channel ,which is about the Jetty area ,8.5 Meters ,and they have to rely on the tide to come high before bringing in vessels .

“This limits the kinds of vessels that comes in ,but if it is dredged ,we can do more ,bigger vessels can come in because we have capacity here. They have also raised the issue of multiple regulations by different agencies ,once I go back we will handle all these concerns .

“The PIA is clear, the need to maintain the pump price and make it stable is key ,we must take the consumers into consideration in all that we do and how we regulate.

“Dredging is the way to go, Calabar with this kind of storage capacity it has can do more ,if the draft is the issue,then we need to dredge them ,this is what is needed here as the marketers have complained.

“Also, it is not only in Calabar ,same thing is been experienced in Warri, where sometimes you have 17 vessel queuing on because the draft is quite low , so there is need for dredging,” he said.

About nine different facilities were visited in calabar including Jetty’s and Depot’s : Dozzy oil and Gas ,Ammasco Petrochemicals Company ,Hyde tanks and Terminals, Dozzy jetty, Sobaz , Jezco oil Nigeria Ltd ,Alkanes petroleum &Gas amongst others.

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