The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Wednesday inaugurated a multi-million naira laboratory to ensure distribution of quality petroleum products in the South East zone of the country.
Alhaji Ahmed Shakar, the Director of Petroleum Resources, performed the commissioning ceremony of the DPR Laboratory in the Owerri Zonal office of the agency.
Shakar, who was represented by Mr Peter Ijeh, the Zonal Operations Controller of DPR South East, said the laboratory was an answer to request by government agencies and individuals to test petroleum products suspected to be adulterated in the zone.
He said that before this time, the agency relied on the sister zonal office in Port Harcourt and some third party laboratories to get the job done at a fee and with some delays.
“With the support and partnership of DPR Headquaters, the Owerri laboratory has come to be, with state of the art analytic equipment for petroleum quality analysis.
“This laboratory is a significant achievement for Owerri Zone and a testament to the success which are positive through public/private partnership.
“It is a mini laboratory, but I assure you that great and formidable results will come out of it as we commence operations.
“The commissioning holds a lot of promises of better things to come for Owerri and other eastern states,” he said.
Shakar said that any marketer caught with adulterated petroleum product would face the full wrath of the law as stipulated and depending on the level of adulteration, might have his product seized or discharged.
He assured motorists and marketers in the zone that with the laboratory in place, the issue of determining product quality would be realised and in a good record time.
The director urged marketers, individuals, motorists and consumers of petroleum products to report any case of adulteration to the department for possible sanction and prosecution.
Mrs Nwando Awiaka, Chief Environment Officer and Team Head, Quality Control and Analysis DPR, Lagos Laboratory Services, who represented the DPR management Lagos, expressed delight at the commissioning of the project in the zone.
She said that management was keen at ensuring that DPR laboratory was established across the nation adding that the agency currently had six laboratries situated in Warri, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Abuja and now in Owerri .
Awiaka said that more laboratories would soon be inaugurated in Kano and Calabar.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that with the commissioning, marketers and other individuals in the south east can now check their petroleum products in the zone rather than travel to other states.
Speaking, Mr Christopher Okpara, Chief Biochemist and Head Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Owerri Zonal Office, said the equipment were of international standard and would produce the required result.
He said there are laws in place for people who engage in selling adulterated petroleum products to unassuming Nigerians adding that offenders would be sanctioned.
The Richardson Team, the company that installed the equipment, led by Mr Fiyin Akinbami identified the equipment to include Vapour Pressure Texter, Closed Flashpoint tester for gas inlet, Lovibonid, and Sulphur Meter for sample testing.
Others are refrigerator to retain volatile samples before the tests are carried out, and distil water for reagents, aside others.