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There seems to be no end in sight to the biting petrol scarcity across the country as four of the 17 cargoes ordered by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, which have arrived, cannot discharge the product, Daily Trust reports.

This is happening at a time marketers say they cannot access the product at most of the NNPC depots nationwide.

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Some of the marketers, who bought from private depots, are selling above the official price of N165/litre.

The NNPC had, last month when the scarcity started, cited the “importation of adulterated petrol” from Belgium.

In Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country, black market operators currently sell for over N500 per litre; and many independent markets, N250/litre.

Sources at the NNPC blamed the current scarcity on supply and logistics issues.

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One of the sources said out of the 17 cargoes ordered by the NNPC, four had arrived at the Lagos Port but could not discharge earlier this week as they were finding the space to berth.

According to the data from Daily Shipping Position by the Nigerian Ports Authority, 29 ships bearing petrol cargoes are expected to arrive at four ports between this week and next week.

The data shows that three ships belonging to MRS, WAPS and Pinnacle Petroleum are to arrive at Apapa Ports between Friday and Monday. At the Tin Can Island in Lagos, five ships, including that of AA Rano, Ibafon, Bovas and Capital Oil, were expected between Sunday and today; while one ship belonging to Dozzy Oil & Gas arrived on Tuesday at Calabar Port. Warri Port also got three ships yesterday with petrol belonging to Havilah, Nepal and Pinnacle Oil.

Nigerian ports still expect more ships to berth with petrol. At the Apapa Port, two ships are to berth this week at New Oil and Pinnacle jetties with over 50,000 tons of petrol. At the Tin Can Port, three ships are expected by tomorrow with 58,000 tons of petrol; two ships carrying 30,000 tons of petrol for Dozzy Oil & Gas and Amrah Gas will arrive at the Calabar Port on Saturday. And in Warri, 12 petrol-laden ships with at least 157,000-ton cargoes should arrive from yesterday to Saturday. The cargoes belong to key petrol marketers, including AYM Shafa, Matrix Energy and RainOil. Another two ships carrying 25,000 tons of petrol have arrived at the Warri port.

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Explaining the ships’ arrival position, another official said until the ships discharged their content, petrol could not get to the depots. “See, it is when the petrol gets to the depots that the retailers get their allocation and take it to their stations for sale. In all, these issues may linger for a week or two,” he noted.

What marketers say

Some of the marketers Daily Trust spoke to blame the hike in petrol price on the lack of supply at NNPC depots nationwide. They said they had resorted to the private depots, which had increased the ex-depot price of petrol and as such the marketers were left with no choice but to also increase the pump price.

Speaking on this, Yusuf Abubakar, a petroleum marketer in Abuja, said: “We loaded our products from depots, especially private depot owners because the NNPC depots are not enough to accommodate every loading.”

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The Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) for Benin Depot, Douglas Iyike, had, in a briefing in Lagos, said: “We want to place it on record that the increment is not due to any fault of oil marketers because we can only sell based on the price at which we buy petrol from the depots.

“There has been an increment in the ex-depot price, which has left marketers with no option than to increase the pump price of petrol above the official N165 per litre in recent weeks,” he said.

Daily Trust had reported last week that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) records showed that about 58 private depots got 387 million litres of petrol from the NNPC Ltd at the ports. But some depot owners confirmed that they had to increase their ex-depot price because the landing cost had risen from about N140/litre to N180/ after the NNPC Ltd began to charge the private depots an additional N500,000 as Ship-To-Ship (STS) coordination charge for petrol evacuation from ships since February 18.

An official of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) blamed the lingering scarcity on inadequate supply by the NNPC Ltd.

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“If NNPC gives us as much product as we want, these queues will disappear. Right now, we have people who have paid since December and have not been given the product,” the official noted.

It was learnt that NNPC depots at Ibadan, Ilorin, Ejigbo and Mosimi were not loading as of yesterday. The President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Debo Ahmed, said currently, there was pressure in Lagos, urging the NNPC to supply the product to other NNPC depots to ease the pressure.

“They should push to Lagos satellites; it would reduce the tension in Lagos. Everybody is depending on Lagos. From Maiduguri, Sokoto, Yola, everybody is depending on Lagos. It is becoming too cumbersome,” he said.

On the fuel scarcity and resort to private depots by the marketers, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Clement Isong, said there were alleged shipments of the product across Nigeria.

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He said, “The market is insatiable coupled with the high price of crude in the international market. It has become more attractive to some to sell petrol outside Nigeria. Petrol is about N450 to N460 outside Nigeria. This has made it more attractive to sell it outside. However, MOMAN members are not selling above normal cost price.”

Crude oil hits $112/barrel as OPEC+ raises production

Meanwhile, as the faceoff between Ukraine and Russia continues, Brent crude soared to $112.5 per barrel yesterday while the Bonny Light, which is the Nigerian crude, was priced at $107.77/barrel.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stuck to its gradual adjustment plan at a meeting held yesterday in Vienna, Austria, where they agreed on a 400,000 barrels per day increment for April.

Nigeria had yet to meet its quota for December 2021 as its production was around 1.4mbpd due to production cuts by some international oil companies and other issues. In the new quota, Nigeria is expected to reach a daily oil production of 1.735mbpd rising from 1335mpd in the March quota. At least 41.694mbpd oil production is expected every day from OPEC and its allies – OPEC+ in April, the meeting held.

NNPC mum

The NNPC did not respond to the enquiry by Daily Trust yesterday on why the scarcity had persisted despite the assurance that it would end in a few days’ time. There was also no response from the NNPC spokesman, Garba Deen Muhammad, to a question on why the vessels could not discharge the product.


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