|An oil refinery in Port Harcourt. Inset: Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke|
Petrol scarcity in Lagos and environs is now imminent, as loading of the product at oil depots by tankers has dropped by about 50 per cent.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that many of the tankers, which had gone to load products from the depots, were unattended to because there was not enough petrol to go round.
The shortage in supply of the product to the depots automatically translates to poor supply to filling stations for the final consumers.
The President, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, South-West branch, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, who confirmed this, said loading of products at the depots had dropped by about 50 per cent.
“A depot, which used to serve about 200 trucks per day, now serves between 90 and 100 trucks per day as a result of product unavailability. Trucks used to load overnight before, but now they close by 4pm daily,” he said.
Some major oil marketers also complained on Thursday that they had run out of petrol stock.
The marketers, who raised the alarm when contacted by our correspondent, said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was not supplying them the product as it had claimed.
The major oil marketers control over 50 per cent of the retail market for petroleum products in the country.
A top executive of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said there was no petrol stock at Apapa, Lagos currently.
The source said though NNPC had publicly announced that it had over 30-day sufficiency of the product, petrol was nowhere to be found at its members’ outlets on Thursday, except for the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company Plc, which had in stock 3,000 tonnes of petrol.
The source said, “There is no petrol stock in Apapa as we speak. If at all NNPC has products, it is not giving us.
“Since Monday, we have been shouting that supply is very low. In fact, now, only NIPCO has 3,000 tonnes of product.”
Despite these anomalies, the NNPC has continued to give assurance that there is enough stock of the product to last a minimum of 30 days.
But when our correspondent contacted the Chairman, Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer, Capital Oil, Mr. Ifeanyi Uba, he said his company still had stock of petrol supplied by the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company, and was currently loading the product.
Some members of MOMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, who spoke to our correspondent on the issue, expressed divergent views.
The immediate past Chairman, DAPPMA, Chief Sylvester Okoli, told our correspondent that his company, WABECO, currently did not have stock of petrol, but expressed optimism that the situation might change soon as PPMC was said to have enough of the product to go round.
He said it was possible that NNPC had enough stock and the marketers were not getting enough due to storage and distribution constraints.
Okoli said the country had limited depot facilities and that there was the need for NNPC, through PPMC, to synchronise the roles of MOMAM, DAPPMA and JEPTFON members in order to achieve better distribution of petroleum products.
NNPC spokesman, Mr. Fidel Pepple, had said in a recent statement that PPMC, a subsidiary of the corporation, had enough fuel to meet national demand for at least 30 days, even if all the local refineries were down and there was no importation.
He said, “What we have discovered is that there is panic buying of fuel as a result of reports that some marketers have stopped importing fuel and that NNPC does not have enough to go round.
“But the true position of things is that we have enough PMS to meet national demand for a minimum of 30 days even if all our local refineries were down and there was no importation.”