The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) yesterday said the supply of petrol would normalise across the country in a few days, announcing that between now and the end of February, it expects at least 2.3 billion litres of the product to berth in Nigeria.
The announcement came as good news to Nigerians, especially in Abuja and Lagos, who in the past couple of days have had to spend hours in long queues to fill their vehicle tanks.
Journalists observed that there was movement of trucks within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as at last night, which were on the line to discharge products in some filling stations, although many of the streets still remained clogged by traffic due to the prevailing condition.
Like in the last few days, thousands of passengers were seen stranded along major points within the city as few vehicles remained on the roads and black market sellers carried out brisk business, selling the fuel for as much as N450 per litre.
But giving an update on the situation at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja, Group Executive Director, Downstream, of the national oil company, Mr. Adetunji Adeyemi, stated that Nigerians would heave a sigh of relief in the coming days.
The GED was accompanied during the brief event by the Managing Director, NNPC Retail, Elizabeth Aliyuda, her counterpart at the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Abdullahi Isiyaku and the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr. Garba Muhammad.
To lessen the pains and ensure that the long queues disappear soon, Adeyemi stated that along with its partners, the NNPC was embarking on a 24-hour service, noting that Nigerians can now buy the product round the clock in filling stations.
Furthermore, the executive director announced that at the moment, the nation has over one billion litres of petrol in stock, adding that all the fuel in circulation in the country is now certified safe.
Journalists learnt that the bad fuel may have been fully withdrawn, while cargoes of clean petrol are arriving daily into the country to bridge the gap created by the withdrawal of the methanol-blended petrol.
In addition, the NNPC, it was gathered, has now quarantined the fuel with excess methanol, while all the trucks that had left the depots were tracked and intercepted, with the restocking of the depots with cleaner fuels.
Adeyemi said a monitoring team had been set up with sister government agencies to ensure a seamless process, urging the security agencies to fully cooperate.
Adeyemi added: “The NNPC Ltd., understands the current fuel supply disruptions in many parts of the country, which was caused by the discovery and subsequent quarantine of methanol-blended cargoes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly referred to as petrol.
“To address the situation, over 2.3 billion litres will arrive the country between now and end of February 2022. This will restore sufficiency level above the national target of 30 days.
“As of today, NNPC has over 1 billion litres of petrol in stock, and the petrol being dispensed today at the various filling stations in the country is safe.
“In order to accelerate PMS distribution across the country, NNPC has commenced 24 hours operations at its depots and retail outlets.”
Similarly, the NNPC stated that Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot Owners & Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had begun 24 hours loading and dispensing activities in some of their designated outlets.
“NNPC has constituted a monitoring team, with the support of the Authority (NMDPRA) and other Security Agencies to ensure smooth distribution of PMS nationwide.
“NNPC implores Nigerians to avoid panic buying and assures that the ongoing efforts will be sustained to restore normalcy in a few days’ time,” Adeyemi added.
But the assurance that the lines will clear soon, contrasted with an earlier statement by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), which had said the situation may last for another two weeks.
IPMAN Public Relations Officer, Chief Chinedu Ukadike was quoted to have said motorists were engaging in racketeering whereby they “fill up their tanks, go to sell to black marketers and return to the queues.”
“Forget what people are saying, it will take two to three weeks to fill in the gaps. We are talking about evacuating and replacing, it is not just about the shortage, it is also about evacuating and replacing,” he had said.
Journalists had on Sunday also reported that the federal government turned back two tankers carrying petrol loaded in Antwerp, Belgium, to their load-port after initially being destined for Lagos in Nigeria, to prevent a further oversaturation of the supply chain with bad fuel.
Nigeria depends almost entirely on imports to meet its domestic fuel needs after many failed initiatives to revamp the dilapidated refineries, with the country’s daily consumption exceeding 60 million litres.
NNPC handles nearly all the imports through crude-for-fuel contracts, known as Direct Sale, direct Purchase (DSDP), with consortia of local and foreign oil firms.
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