The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has urged all stakeholders in the downstream petroleum industry to ensure maximum safety in their operations in a bid to curb the recent fire outbreaks and accidents in the industry. The authority has, therefore, called on the industry players to collectively work together to improve the safety and standards in the industry.
The Coordinator of the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF) at the NPA, Mr Samuel Asare-Bediako, made this call on behalf of the authority’s chief executive officer at the launch of Total Ghana’s new products. “This year, the authority is placing emphasis on safety and is, therefore, embarking on a National Petroleum Safety Campaign,” he stated.
The campaign, which will be on the theme “Safety First, People First”, is designed to sensitise the Petroleum Service Providers (PSPs) and the general public to the collective responsibility for safety. It will include the launch of a safety day, roadshows and workshops for stakeholders, the media, motorists (GPRTU) and the general public.
Mr Asare-Bediako said all these were in line with the authority’s quest to provide the right regulatory environment for all players in the downstream petroleum sector to conduct business in a healthy, fair and competitive manner to meet the expectations of the consuming public.
Increasing number of industry players
The coordinator also pointed out that the deregulation of the sector had led to a significant increase in the number of industry players in the sector, especially the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). The number of Bulk Distribution Companies had increased from four in 2005 to 30 as of September last year. As for the OMCs, the number had increased to 185 as of December last year.
Although the strong growth is good for customers and the economy in general due to increased competition, some have raised issues about the NPA being able to effectively regulate the increasing market. Mr Asare-Bediako, however, disagreed with those assertions, stating that the increasing numbers had rather led to an appreciable high level of competition among the industry players.
“This has also led them to provide quality products and services to their customers and this is evident by the increasing number of types of differentiated petroleum products, as well as lubricant oils offered for sale to the general public,” he explained. He said the authority was still committed to effectively regulating the sector despite the increasing number of players.
“As a national regulatory body, it is our responsibility to ensure that the petroleum downstream industry remains efficient, profitable and fair, and see to it that consumers receive value for money,” he stated.
“In doing so, we conduct investigations into standards and quality of petroleum-related products intended for the market,” he added.