THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has, once again, promised that the premium motor spirit (fuel) will be available in sufficient quantity within the shortest possible time. But that is after failing to fulfil earlier pledges.
In the last two weeks, the NNPC has severally promised that long queues will vanish at filling stations. On February 16, the oil company’s Group Managing Director Mele Kyari said the queues would vanish the following week. On February 18, Group Manager for Public Affairs GarbaDeen Muhammad, quoting Kyari, assured that “queue will end in a few days.” At least the oil corporation has given one more promise of making fuel available since February 18, but none has been fulfilled.
Despite not fulfilling earlier pledges, NNPC, on February 25, gave new assurances of fuel availability to Nigerians. In a series of tweets by the state oil firm on the evening of Friday, it said it was working assiduously with partners to ensure the product reached every part of the country.
“NNPC Ltd once again assures Nigerians that it has sufficient stock of petroleum products for distribution across the country and is working assiduously with partners to ensure the product reaches every part of the country.
“NNPC is further intensifying efforts to resolve distribution hitches being experienced in some parts of the country due to logistics issues.
“To this effect, NNPC is engaging depot operators to load product round the clock to accelerate the restoration of normal distribution,” a section of the tweet read.
It also added that it had engaged the services of government security agencies to ensure that all products loaded got to the right destinations.
In Lagos and Abuja, queues have persisted in the last three weeks at fil a filling stations, with street racketeers selling a litre of petrol between N300 to N500 as against N162-N165 official band.
In Lagos, residents trek long distances due to hike in transport fares, but motorists have also complained of the scarcity of the product which has been threatening their businesses.
The NNPC and its partners recently imported adulterated petroleum products, damaging cars and fuelling scarcity.
An analysis of industry data has revealed that the NNPC may require an estimated N201 billion worth of clean Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to bring 170.25 million litres of adulterated products imported into the country up to standards.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has said that, for every 200 litres of the adulterated product, 800 litres of petrol with good quality will be required to blend the former
Kyari has defended the NNPC, saying the reason the earlier tests did not reveal methanol presence was because Nigeria’s specifications did not include methanol and as such there was no way they could have known about methanol presence.
The methanol-blended product, according to the NNPC, was imported into the country by four oil marketers through four PMs cargoes under NNPC’s Direct Sale Direct Purchase arrangement.
The four companies that supplied the methanol-blended petrol, as contained in the NNPC’s statement, included MRS, which made the importation through a vessel named MT Bow Pioneer.
Others were Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium through a vessel identified as MT Tom Hilde; Oando through a vessel named MT Elka Apollon; and Duke Oil.
Emadeb, Oando, Brittania-U and MRS have since denied the allegation against them by the NNPC.
Recently, the oil firm released the details of how it distributed a total of 387.59 million litres of PMS in one week to bridge the petrol supply gap.
According to the NNPC, in a statement, the petrol distributed to Nigerians through retail filling stations from February 14 to 20, 2022, represented an average daily distribution of 55.4 million litres.
The NNPC recently promised over 2.3 billion litres of PMS delivery before the end of February 2022, but none has arrived as of today to combat the situation
Amid the situation, President Muhammadu Buhari has submitted a supplementary budget of N2.557 trillion to the National Assembly to accommodate fuel subsidy payments.
The president, who is the petroleum minister, has also failed to speak or act on the situation.
Experts say Nigeria must deregulate the downstream petroleum market to end this kind of situation and instil transparency into the market.