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Soaring oil price great opportunity, says Buhari

As crude oil prices continue to rise above $100 per barrel, President Muhammadu Buhari has said there is no excuse for Nigeria not to reap…

As crude oil prices continue to rise above $100 per barrel, President Muhammadu Buhari has said there is no excuse for Nigeria not to reap the gains, especially with the current Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Even so, petrol scarcity has worsened as marketers increase the price above the N165 approved rate, Daily Trust observed.

Buhari who spoke on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 5th edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2022) at the State House Abuja said, “Crude oil prices are on the rise again after turning negative in April 2020. It is a great opportunity for us as a country. With the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in place, there should be no excuses. The enabling investment environment, which has been the bane of the industry has been taken care of by provisions in the PIA.”

On harnessing gas resources, the president said “We will ensure further optimal exploitation and utilisation of the country’s vast natural gas resources.”

On his part, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said through the PIA, the government is promoting the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as the domestic fuel of choice. 

He said, “With this programme, we have established a 20 million Cylinder Injection Scheme (CIS); 5-10 million of these are to be introduced in pilot states this year.”

The Group Managing Director and CEO of NNPCL, Malam Mele Kyari, said, “Transition must have sanity and there must be justice in energy transition, which means help to get us to a point where we are able to transport our ordinary people from their homes to their workplaces and also in the short term assist us in making sure that we have the most-friendly fuel that is put in place in the next five to 10 years as we also build our ability to put the renewable on the table.”

Experts are however of the opinion that  Nigeria may be worse off as higher oil prices mean more subsidy payments for the government. Unlike its OPEC peers, Nigeria imports all of its refined petroleum products, mainly through “opaque” transactions coordinated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, which puts the country’s daily consumption of petrol at 93million litres during peak periods.

Petrol scarcity bites as marketers hike prices

Nigeria may be in for a longer stress of the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol just as some marketers are selling the product already above the approved price band of N165 per litre.

The petrol scarcity has lasted nearly one month since it started over cases of adulterated petrol imported by NNPC Ltd and its partners from Belgium.

Our reporters observed the frustrating queues across several retail outlets in Abuja including NNPC retail stations on Monday with some stations at the outskirts of Abuja selling for over N165. In Nasarawa and Niger States bordering the FCT, many stations sold petrol for N200 at the weekend.

Some marketers told this paper that the depot owners have increased the ex-depot price of petrol and as such the marketers were left with no choice but to also increase the pump price.

“You see, we loaded our products from depots, especially private depot owners; this is because the NNPC depots are not enough to accommodate every loading,” said Yusuf Abubakar, a petroleum marketer in Abuja.

Only BOVAS Filling Station was selling yesterday at the popular Ogunnusi road in Ojodu-Berger Lagos while the NNPC retail station, Oando Filling Station, among others were not selling. Many motorists ran out of fuel while going about with jerry cans to sell.

The Chairman of IPMAN, Benin Depot, Mr Douglas Iyike, on Monday in Lagos said, “We want to place it on record that the increment is not due to any fault of oil marketers because we can only sell based on the price at which we buy petrol from the depots.

“There has been an increment in the ex-depot price, which has left marketers with no option than to increase the pump price of petrol above the official N165 per litre in recent weeks.”

According to the data provided by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), there are about 58 private depots loading petrol in Nigeria from NNPC Ltd at the ports. On 18th February 2022, a letter from NNPC Ltd depot owners conveyed the introduction of a N500,000 ship-to-ship (STS) coordination charge for petrol.

NNPC said the new charge is to cover trans-shipment operations for retailers, especially depot operators taking delivery of petrol consignment from NNPC at the ports.

Members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) had kicked against this last week noting that it would affect the price ceiling for petrol.

The Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Clement Isong, yesterday said aside from the local rush to buy off what is available in the market, some people are also selling it outside the country.

“NNPC says it is pushing more of the product out. The market is insatiable coupled with the high price of crude in the international market. It has become more attractive to some to sell petrol outside Nigeria.

“Petrol is about N450 to N460 outside Nigeria. This has made it more attractive to sell it outside. However, MOMAN members are not selling above normal cost price,” he added.

A source at the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) blamed the persistent scarcity on inadequate supply by the NNPC.

He said, “If NNPC gives us as much product as we want, this queue will not be available, it will disappear. Right now, we have people who have paid since December and they have not been given the product and they are asking for the product and the interest is running in the bank.”

It was also learnt that as of yesterday, many NNPC depots including Ibadan, Ilorin, Ejigbo, Mosimi, have run out of fuel.

President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Debo Ahmed said currently there is pressure in Lagos and urged the NNPC to supply the product to other NNPC depots to ease the pressure.

“They should push to Lagos satellites; it would reduce the tension in Lagos. Everybody is depending on Lagos. From Maiduguri, Sokoto, Yola, everybody is depending on Lagos. It is becoming too cumbersome,” he said.

Another marketer, Abdulrasheed Olapade lamented the different prices charged by private depot owners.

He said, “There is the disparity of loading and disparity of pricing. As an independent marketer, we can buy at N159, N170, N180. This is outside transportation,” and with less petrol at NNPC depots, marketers have resorted to private depots in Apapa.

Security agents monitoring sales – NNPC

As the fuel scarcity rages, NNPC Ltd said it is supplying more petrol and has engaged security agents to monitor the sales of petrol across retail outlets.

In a statement, the company also said it is further intensifying efforts to resolve distribution hitches being experienced in some parts of the country due to logistics issues.

It said, “To this effect, NNPC is engaging depot operators to load the product round the clock to accelerate the restoration of normal distribution. NNPC has also engaged the services of government security agencies to ensure that all products loaded get to the right destination.”

The company urged Nigerians to continue to be patient as we strive to restore the situation to normalcy. 

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