The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) have confirmed that persistent nationwide petrol scarcity would disappear in a few weeks, as measures have been put in place to end the crisis, following the disappearance of petrol queues in Abuja, FCT on Wednesday.
Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) NNPCL, Engr Farouk Ahmed, Chief Executive NMDPRA, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, IPMAN President, during an interview on Nigerian Television Authority, Good Morning Nigeria, Programme, and monitored by EnergyDay, confirmed the latest development and presented an overview of some of the measures that have been put in place, which, according to them, have yielded results.
The GCEO, while speaking about the efforts of the national oil company aimed at improving the fuel distribution across the country, disclosed that the NNPCL has increased daily petrol supply from an average of 67million litres per day depot trucks out to between 70 million litres and 80 million litres in the last few days to offset the demand pressure.
He also confirmed that all the marketers, including major and independent markets, are now getting the product at the same ex-depot price, in every depot across the country. He noted that this development will address the arbitrage witnessed in the value chain.
Kyari further noted that as part of measures to checkmate the activities of marketers that have been diverting products to other West African countries after loading from the depots, the NNPCL has commissioned over 120 officials of the Department of States Services (DSS) to follow petrol trucks to various locations in Abuja and environs.
He said, “The persistent petrol scarcity is caused by the greed of some marketers and Nigerians who have taken advantage of the panic buying to hoard the products. This greedy people buy more than what they need at a given period.
“This negative development has been addressed with an increase in NNPCL’s daily supply of the products which has been increased by 20 million litres,” Kyari noted.
The NNPCL GCEO further confirmed that following the success and normalcy in the fuel situation within Abuja, security agencies in different parts of the country have also been commissioned to also monitor the movement of petrol trucks from terminals to the retail outlets in all the states.
He said, “We do not have a supply issue, we have about 28 days to 48 days of product sufficiency, even if we have to move all the 60 million litres of petrol daily to different parts of the country, we will achieve sufficiency.
“The scarcity is caused by several glitches in product distribution, one of which is due to the recent accident along Bida-Agaye road, Niger State, which disrupted the free flow of trucks moving petroleum products to NNPC Depot in Suleja, Niger State.
“Other issues are the logistic cost of hiring daughter vessels to evacuate product offshore from the mother vessels, onward to the terminals, depots and later to the retail outlets. These are issues that NNPCL does not have an automatic response system to address, because of the subsidy regime.
“We are also mindful of the antics and behaviours of some of the operators who take pleasure in diverting products to unauthorized destinations,” the NNPCL boss said.
Mele Kyari however assured that petrol will be available and affordable for all Nigerians to buy at filling stations in one week.
Engr Farouk Ahmed, ACE, NMDPRA, also said that following the meeting held on Tuesday with NNPC, marketers and trucker owners, petrol is now available at all retail outlets at an affordable price.
He said, “We have found the solution to the crisis, we have increased onshore sufficiency to 12 days from between 7 to 8 days.
The NMDPRA ACE said supply is sufficient for 28 days offshore. This is an indicator of more products both at the onshore and offshore downstream.
“We have realised that if we lower the onshore sufficiency, there would be a crisis. In reality, the NNPC has more trucks discharging petrol to the depots nationwide.
Highlighting one of the factors responsible for the petrol crisis, Farouk said daughter vessels used to be chartered between $19,000 to $20,000 in January 2021.
He noted that the situation has changed due to the shortage of vessels arising from the Russia-Ukraine war which affected the global supply of petroleum products.
He said, “Daughter vessels are now chartered at $60,000 per day to evacuate petrol from the mother vessels in offshore Lagos to terminals in Lagos. It also cost $80,000 to charter a vessel from offshore Lagos to Calabar terminals, up from $30,000 per day.
“This arbitrage affected the price template for the movement of marine vessels from an average of N5 per litre to N17/litre from Lagos to Lagos. This is responsible for the serious distribution glitch which was beyond regulator’s control.
Confirming the improvement in the supply chains, Elder Chinedu, President of IPMAN, said that all marketers are now loading products from the NNPC’s depots at the official price.
He said, “The scarcity will disappear in less than one week. Since all marketers have been receiving products at the same ex-depot rate. Nigerians would now be able to buy petrol at reasonable prices across the country.
” The fuel queues have suddenly disappeared in Abuja with the availability of the products, even though NNPCL has promised to sustain its 70 million litres daily supply to marketers.
“We have confirmed that NNPC has billions in billions. The major problem is due to logistics issues that concern owners of vessels.
“Despite all of these issues and glitches, the recent meeting we had with the NNPC on Tuesday, has brought succour. No tank farm owner can sell above the ex-depot price and official threshold.
“We are satisfied with the process now that the NNPCL is fully involved in the release and distribution of the products directly to all independent marketers.
“The Major oil marketers no longer have the liberty to create arbitrage within the supply chain. Every marketer can order products without visiting the depot, because the process is now automated. You are given products according to your capacity. We only wish that this situation can continue this way.
“With the addition of more depots into the supply chains by NNPCL, marketers are digitally supervised and coordinated to pick products, thereby easing logistic glitches.
The IPMAN President also confirmed that logistic costs including toll fees, levies and taxes at different toll points across the state and federal highways, have been dismantled. This, according to him, has reduced the freight burden on truckers.
EnergyDay however confirmed that most filling stations in Abuja as of Thursday, did not record the usual queues. Motorists now drive into the filling stations to fill their tanks at official price, and in a few minutes.