Fuel scarcity: as queues grow, NNPCL and traders clash over supply

    Drivers’ lines for Premium Motor Spirit, often known as gasoline, at filling stations got longer on Thursday, prompting a dispute between oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited over the commodity’s supply.

    Dealers warned that because many independent oil marketers have not been able to access the PMS for more than a month, the lines for gasoline in different parts of the nation might not shorten.

    The national oil corporation acknowledged that it was aware of the fuel lines in Nigeria, but the NNPCL refuted this, claiming that the company has 30-day PMS sufficiency.

    In Abuja and the neighboring states of Nasarawa and Niger, a shortage of products to distribute led to the closure of numerous filling stations, especially those run by independent traders.

    Queues formed outside the few establishments that sold goods in these regions, mostly those owned by large dealers. On Thursday, for example, there were lines outside the NNPCL headquarters in Abuja at the Conoil filling station.

    According to local marketers and drivers, the identical situation occurred in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and numerous other places.

    Dealers operating under the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria’s auspices said on Thursday that they had been having difficulty obtaining gasoline from the NNPCL for more than a month.

    Fuel scarcity
    nnpc filling station

    Almost 70% of retail locations in the country that dispense PMS are under IPMAN’s jurisdiction. There are now many IPMAN member stores closed since there aren’t enough goods to sell.

    Additionally, they informed our correspondent that independent merchants were forced to purchase items from large tank farm owners, and that the ex-depot prices at these farms had increased from roughly N578 per litre to N605 per litre.

    “Many depots are dry,” said Chief Chinedu Ukadike, National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria. Before fresh goods arrive, the NNPCL typically stores goods that are intended to remain on the ground for a while. However, I believe that the supplies in storage have run out as we speak.

    This is due to the fact that NNPCL has not been providing petroleum products to independent marketers in the Port Refinery depot and several other depots around the nation for the past month.

    “Marketers in Warri and Lagos are having trouble locating NNPCL products.” The few large marketers and owners of tank farms are the ones with products, which they currently sell for extremely high prices.

    Ukadike responded, “They sell it exorbitantly at between N601 and N605/litre, which is against the approved price of NNPCL that is between N577 and N578/litre,” when asked how much the proprietors of the tank farms charged for selling the goods to independent marketers.

    Since NNPCL is currently Nigeria’s only importer of petroleum products, it is become increasingly difficult for independent marketers to get products from the company. And the reason for this is the reinstatement of the gasoline price subsidies.

    Ukadike said that it would be challenging to completely deregulate the downstream oil sector in Nigeria until its refineries were fixed. He also added that the lifting of the prohibition on the provision of foreign exchange for the import of specific commodities had raised demand for dollars.

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    “Strong measures from the government are needed to get our refineries back on track. About $8 billion can be used to build a new, state-of-the-art refinery. Modular refineries should also be supported by being provided with crude oil.

    “The recent cash payment for petroleum imports and the crude swap program haven’t made things better; instead, we’re still seeing skyrocketing inflation.” This has to end, as our economy is collapsing,” the IPMAN representative said.

    The IPMAN PRO’s assertion that FX was currently in charge of both the downstream oil industry and the Nigerian economy as a whole was supported by another oil marketer.

    “What we’ve been saying is not far from the cause of the lines. Our economy is currently controlled by foreign exchange. Therefore, whatever that occurs in the world market has an impact on us, according to Mohammed Shuaibu, Secretary of IPMAN, Abuja-Suleja.

    “But the most unfortunate part of it is that, as an oil-producing nation, we are unable to refine the oil due to mismanagement,” he continued. Not enough is imported by NNPCL. And who is currently financially strong enough to import the product?

    In fact, it appears that the government is really perplexed by the entire circumstance. On the other hand, we will import currency if they supply it to us. However, until then, the lone importer won’t be able to supply the necessary demand, thus the lines will continue.

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