3 December 2012

Nigeria: Apapa At Standstill As Fuel Supply Tightens

Photo: This Day
At the pump.

With the continued sealing of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, which accounts for 35 per cent of the country's fuel supply, the supply situation has tightened, with marketers using trucks to block all access roads leading to Apapa in their bids to source for products in other depots within the area.

This development, it was learnt, has worsened the current fuel crisis as the few depot owners that have products defy the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and sell at ex-depot price of N100 per litre; against the official price of N87.66.

THISDAY gathered that with the non-reopening of the Capital Oil depot at Ibafon area of Lagos, all tankers are now heading to the other depots at Apapa, thereby worsening the traffic situation in the area.

Investigation revealed that since the closure of Capital Oil depot by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), all routes leading to Apapa have been blocked by trucks that lined up to lift petrol from Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum; AITEO Energy and NIPCO Plc, which are the only few depots that have products at the weekend.

THISDAY however gathered that Folawiyo Petroleum was exhausting its stock of petrol at the weekend, and marketers that went to the depot to buy NNPC's products were diverted to MRS Oil and Gas Limited.

AMCON and the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah were yet to agree on the terms of the reopening of the company's depot as at the weekend.

The menace of trucks in Apapa has worsened the plight of motorists and companies that have offices in the area.

However, the few depots that have products are having a field day as they sell at ex-depot price of between N95 and N98, with third party suppliers selling at N100, making it difficult for petrol to be sourced at the official pump price of N97 at the filling stations. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)'s official ex-depot price is N86.66.

The DPR, which has the responsibility of enforcing this price, has either been compromised by the marketers and depot owners or lack the capacity to carry out its statutory function as a regulator.

Some of the marketers, who spoke to THISDAY on the fuel situation, stated that instead of moving against the big depot owners in Apapa and environs that sell at above N87.66 at their depots, the DPR is "busy chasing small petrol station owners at the outskirts of Lagos, who sell at above N97 at the pumps."

"How do they expect someone who bought PMS at the depot at N98 per litre to sell at N97 per litre at his filling station? The DPR officials are either afraid of moving against the depots or have been settled," said one of the dealers.

It was however gathered that the DPR had sealed some filling stations that sold above official pump price but has not taken any serious steps to stop profiteering at the depots.

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