NPA suspends over 90 Oil Marketing Companies in Central Region

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Mr Michael Opoku
Mr Michael Opoku

A total of 95 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) out of the registered 422 OMCs operating in the Central Region have suspended operation as of December 2023.

According to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), eight out of them could also not be located, signifying they had either gone out of operation or decommissioned.

The challenges of the OMCs were largely financial, according to Mr Michael Opoku, Central Regional Manager of NPA.

“The 95 OMCs that have suspended operations means that they are located facilities but not working. They have varying reasons, particularly lack of funds to lift from sponsoring company.

“If your sponsoring OMC has financial issues and is not lifting, obviously you cannot operate. Such OMCs can switch by writing formally to your sponsoring OMC and NPA to ensure the necessary rebranding and legalities are affected to return to operation,” Mr Opoku explained.

For the OMCs in extinction, Mr Opoku said: “I’m sure majority of the eight will be the “Gaogao” outlets because they can easily and illegally decommission by themselves, but a registered filling station cannot be easily decommissioned.”

“We do not subscribe to their outmoded means of operation, and we are working with them to regularise their operations in accordance with the law. So far, we have identified only two in the Region that are fully cooperating with us.”

Across the 22 districts in the region, he said the Awutu Senya East Municipality with an estimated 240,000 people had 96 OMCs being the highest, followed by Mfantseman Municipality 41, and Assin North having the least with six.

The concentration of OMCs was driven by population and location such as Agona West, Fosu Municipality, Effutu, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abram and Upper Denkyira East and West were leading in OMC businesses.

In the hard-to-reach communities, he said table-top black market selling of petroleum products appeared rife, noting that: “All forms of illegal sale of fuel particularly at homes, table tops and public places without regard to law and safety won’t be countenanced.”

Mr Opoku said the NPA Act prohibited any person other than a licenced operators under the Act from being in a possession of a petroleum product in quantities unreasonably exceeding that person’s immediate requirement.

The NPA could not authenticate the quality of such petroleum products that had the potential to spoil vehicle tanks and engines.

“Those outlets lack the necessary safety measures and infrastructure to handle and store petroleum products safely. Some of them often operate near public spaces, tabletops, gallons, and obscure corners, thereby increasing the risk of accidents and fire outbreaks.

“The absence of proper or adequate fire prevention systems, such as firefighting equipment and trained personnel, further exacerbates these dangers, he said.

“Therefore, the NPA cannot guarantee the quality of such petroleum products and we want all to desist from patronizing their services.

“Such illegal sellers are festering the incidence of possible fuel adulteration with dire ramifications in case of explosion,” the Central Regional Manager noted.

He advised the public about risks associated with purchasing petroleum products from unauthorised reseller outlets and encouraged them to purchase such products from authorised reseller outlets and fuel stations.

He said, ‘’users of petroleum products must buy from properly licensed and certified fuel stations across Ghana so that they would have the best of fuels to undertake their operations and activities.”

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