Indications emerge that petrol supply gap that has seen long queues surface in filling stations across the country may start to ease as from Wednesday as major marketers say they are ramping up from imports to complement the efforts of the NNPC.
During a visit to three terminals of major marketers, Oando OVH, Mobil and Total in Apapa, Lagos by Yemi Osinbajo, Nieria’s vice president, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Yemi Adetunji, managing director NNPC retail among other officials on December 25.
Olaposi Williams, CEO of OVH Energy, Oando’s downstream licensee, told Osinbajo that they are ramping up petrol imports delivering upwards of 150 trucks everyday across Nigeria and currently has a vessel that is waiting to discharge but there were no officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency who should regulate the product.
The same sentiments were expressed by Ernest Umunah who manages the Total Nigeria Terminals even as he requested that marketers should be granted more incentives to ramp up supply.
Speaking to journalists after the inspection tour, Osinbajo assured the President has been instructed that everything should be done to ensure that current supply gaps are plugged to reduce the sufferings of Nigerians whose holidays have been marred by fuel scarcity.
“Just going by what we have seen, there is what is called winter deliveries, obviously towards the end of the year, the cost of fuel goes up in the parts of the world where it is refined and that gives rise to problems for those importing it. Of course once you have any kind of disruption immediately you begin to see hoarding and panic buying.
“We are also trying to ensure that this sort of disruption don’t happen in the future, that’s why we are working to ensure that this is solved,” said Osinbajo.
BusinessDay observed a flurry of activities at the terminals with trucks being loaded for delivery in many filling stations across the country.
Some of the tanker drivers that was spoken to complained that the security agencies such as the Navy and the Soldiers who have been tasked to manage the chaotic access to Apapa are contributing to the problem.
The drivers said that the major marketers all have dedicated parking spaces for their tankers but the Navy and Soldiers who are controlling access to the ports insist that they stay on queues with the rest of the trucks bearing empty containers heading to wharf. This contributes to delay in loading fuel for supply across the country, they told BusinessDay.
Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, told journalists on Sunday that measures were already in place to bolster the current fuel supply and eliminate the extraneous factors that have led to the persistent petrol queues.
He said within the last two weeks the national truck out capacity had been jerked up to an average of 1,500 trucks, translating to 52 million litres per day which is much higher than the normal consumption of 850 trucks per day across the various depots in the country.
The corporation also said it has emplaced a 24-hour loading and sales operations in all depots and NNPC Mega Stations across the country while marketers have been instructed to do same.
Baru said 814 million litres of petrol were currently being injected into the system to guarantee nationwide elimination of fuel queues before the end of the year.