This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Long Queues Persist As PPPRA Orders 26 Million Barrels of Petrol in First Quarter

Fuel supply situation across the country remained tight Thursday in spite of firm assurances by both the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) of the availability of the products at the depots to meet the country's demand.

This is as facts emerged yesterday that about 30 companies were granted licences to import around 26 million barrels of gasoline, or around 3.1 million tonnes, in the first quarter of this year, down slightly from the previous quarter. Investigations by THISDAY showed that most petrol stations in Lagos were not dispensing products yesterday and the few that were selling had long queues of anxious motorists waiting to buy.

The same, according to sources, is the situation in Abuja and other parts of the country. Sources at the NNPC insisted yesterday that marketers were hoarding petrol, thereby creating artificial scarcity.

However, some of the marketers told THISDAY that most petrol stations ran out of stock, but expressed the hopes that with the recent release of first quarter 2014 import allocation, the situation would become normalised.

Meanwhile, it emerged that about 30 companies were granted licences to import around 26 million barrels of gasoline, or around 3.1 million tonnes, in the first quarter of this year, down slightly from the previous quarter. The largest allocation of 1.3 million tonnes was given to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to a list of importers compiled from trade sources by Reuters.

The fuel import allocations were announced late in the quarter but importers would be allowed to bring in fuel up until the end of May, the newswire quoted industry sources as saying.

The imports are lower than the 30 million barrels of petrol allocated for the fourth quarter of last year, which followed a brief halt in imports due to a supply glut. Oando Plc, according to the report, received the second biggest allocation of 120,000 tonnes, while Total's local unit was awarded 60,000 tonnes and Folawiyo, in which global commodity merchant Glencore is a minority stakeholder, got 90,000 tonnes.

Officials from Nigeria's Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the downstream regulator, were reportedly not immediately available for comment. The sources also hinted that large trading houses such as Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria were absent from the list, although Trafigura continues to supply Nigeria with fuel through a crude-for-product swap deal.

With Agency Report

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