Fuel scarcity: Reps mandate NNPC Ltd. to establish more petrol depots

Oredola Adeola

As part of measures to address incessant fuel scarcity across the country, the House of Representatives  has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited,NNPC Ltd, to open more petrol depots across the country to urgently curb the crisis caused by the products unavailability.

This was the resolution of the House during the  plenary session held on Thursday, when an order was later given to the Committee  on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to ensure compliance of the legislative rule.

EnergyDay’s check revealed that there are about 5,120 kilometres of pipeline network, 21 storage depots,  nine (9) LPG depots, booster pump stations and jetties specifically established by NNPC originally linked to the now  abandoned four refineries, two in Port Harcourt (PHRC), and one each in Kaduna (KRPC) and Warri (WRPC) that have not been processing crude oil since February 2021.

The Legislature  also called for proper regulation of the operations of private depots that received supplies from the NNPC only to resale at exorbitant prices to pump stations.The House passed the resolution during plenary in Abuja after considering a motion on “Need  to Establish  More  Petrol  Depots  in  Nigeria” It was moved by Rep. Uju Kingsley.

The motion reads, “The House notes  that  there  are  insufficient  depots  to store  petroleum  products  in  Nigeria.

“Also  notes  that  an  estimated  100  million  litres  of  bad  petrol  imported in  Nigeria  have  caused  fuel  scarcity in Nigeria  with the  consequent  effect  of  adulteration  of  the  product  by  roadside  black  market  vendors;

“Concerned that proliferation of  adulterated petrol has caused severe  damage to vehicle engines & inflicted more pains on people & despite seeming efforts to address the fuel  scarcity, long queues & shortage of the product still persist at fueling  stations across the country.

“Aware  that  according  to  media  reports,  in  a  rare  admission  of  responsibility,  the  Nigerian Petroleum  Company Limited NNPCgroup accepted that  there  had been a  lapse  in its  supply  chain.

“Also  aware  that  according  to  information  available  on  the  official  website  of  the  NNPC,  Nigeria  has  5,000 kilometres  of  pipeline  network,  twenty-one  (21)  storage  depots  and  nine  (9)  LPG  depots which  are  grossly inadequate  to effectively  serve  the  36  States  of  the  country  as  well  as  the  Federal  Capital  Territory,  hence the  recurrent  fuel  scarcity.

“Disturbed  that  many  other  depots  are  owned  by  private  individuals  who  receive  fuel  from  the   NNPCgroup and then  sell  at  exorbitant  prices,  causing  unnecessary  irregularities  in  the  price  of  the  product  across  the country.

“Cognisant  that  if  more  fuel  depots  are  established,  fuel  scarcity  will  be  curbed  while  more  employment opportunities  will  be  created as  a  result,  thus  improving  the  country’s  economy.

“Resolves  to urge  the  Nigerian National Petroleum  Company Limited NNPCgroup to  establish  and  equip  more  depots  across the  country  and strictly  regulate  the  operations  of  private  depot  owners.

The House of Representatives therefore gave the mandate instructing  the  Committee  on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to ensure compliance.

EnergyDay’s check showed that most of the depots have been abandoned due to negligence and vandalism. They have been in disuse for some time, while only a few of the depots in the Southwest are active, others have gone moribund and inactive.

Petrol tankers and trucks  are used instead for the bridging of products to other states of the federation from the few functional depots, while NNPC has continued to distribute most of its product especially PMS through private storage depots.

Further investigations by EnergyDay show that most of the abandoned Government owned depot systems with mainline and booster pump stations are managed by the Petroleum Products Marketing Companies(PPMC), and are administered under five zones known as operations areas.

The five administrative area offices are: Port Harcourt, Warri, Mosimi, Kaduna and Gombe are managed by Area Managers.

Port Harcourt depot are include; Okirika jetty; Aba, Enugu, Markudi  Calabar depots as well as Bonny export terminal.

The Warri depot, Warri Jetty, Benin depot, Abudu, Auchi and Lokoja pump stations, and Escravos terminal.

The Mosimi area office has Mosimi depot, Atlas Cove Jetty and depot, Satellite (Ejigbo Lagos), Ibadan depot, Ore, and Ilorin depots. At the moment only the Ejigbo Lagos depot is active, while efforts are made to load others.

Kaduna depot, Abaji, Izom pump stations, Minna, Suleja depots and Sarkin Pawa, and Zaria pump stations, Kano and Gusau depots.

The Gombe area office has Jos, Gombe, Yola depots, Biu pump station and Maiduguri depot.

However, EnergyDay gathered that if the monitoring and compliance measures by the House of Representative Committee are enforced, operational performance of some of the depots can be improved upon.