12 December 2017

Nigeria: Petrol Depots Still Dry Despite NNPC's Pledge to Flood Market

Despite the pledge by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to flood the country with petrol, most of the depots in Lagos were still dry at the weekend as the corporation's imported cargoes were still to arrive the country, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY, however, gathered that the queues experienced in some filling stations did not worsen, despite the tight supply.

The queues resurfaced a week ago after some oil traders involved in NNPC's Direct Sale-Direct Purchase (DSDP) contract flooded the market with diesel instead of petrol that was stipulated in their contract agreements.

While the market became wet with diesel, there was a shortfall in the supply of petrol by the NNPC, which is majorly the sole importer of the product.

The shortfall had fueled an allegation by the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that the NNPC was undersupplying its members and giving priority to depot owners.

IPMAN further accused the depot owners of selling to them at exhorbitant ex-depot prices of between N140 and N143 per litre after accessing the product from the NNPC at official ex-depot price of N117 per litre.

The independent marketers said it would be difficult for them to sell at the filling stations at N145 and threatened to shut down 900 filling stations in Lagos and Ogun States by December 11, a development that triggered panic-buying and the attendant crisis.

Despite NNPC's pledge, normalcy has not returned in distribution, especially in Lagos. However, normalcy is gradually returning in petrol stations in Lagos.

A market survey conducted by THISDAY showed that out of about 28 functional depots in Lagos only four had stock of petrol, while 14 had diesel.

The major marketers - Oando, Mobil, Forte Oil, Total, Conoil, NIPCO, and MRS had petrol, which they were selling at normal price but to only their dealers, except NIPCO.

THISDAY gathered that petrol was selling at ex-depot prices of between N140 and N143.50 in the four other depots - D Jones, Mao Oil, Sahara, and Stallonire.

It was however, not clear if the product belonged to the owners of the depots or was on throughput with third party.

However, diesel was available in 14 depots - Wosbab, NIPCO, AA Rano, Acorn, Aiteo, D Jones, Fatgbems, Folawiyo, Rahamaniya, Obat, MRS, Integrated Oil, Ibeto, and Ibakem.

Marketers who spoke to THISDAY said they were still awaiting vessels the NNPC had promised to import last week.

"The vessels were expected on Friday but they did not arrive. We also waited on Saturday but they did not come. So, we are still expecting. The good news is that the queues have not worsened. It is experienced mainly in Lagos mainland where the independent marketers have their stations. Supply is not all that tight in the island most of the stations belong to the majors and they always have product," one of the marketers explained.


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