By Samuel Ibiyemi
Investigations have uncovered a major cold war among petroleum marketers operating in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry over sales of diesel and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). The marketers are desperately using prices of diesel and PMS as tool and weapon for snatching motorists in need of these products.
For instance, filling stations along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna expressway and Port Harcourt-Aba road change prices of their products about once a week depending on response received from the field by marketers and movement of customers.
At Sango- Ota in Ogun State, both major and independent filling stations have reduced prices of PMS from N145 to N143 per litre. Also for diesel as a deregulated product, the price continues to drop from the level of N165 to N150 per litre in certain filling stations. On that same road, Mobil Filling Station known to be conservative with standard service was forced to reduce the price of PMS from N145 to N143 per litre after losing customers to independent marketers on the road led by Olutony, Golden Guinea, Emni and NIPCO filling stations among others.
Also dealer-owned filling stations of Oando Plc along Lagos -Abeokuta road led by Masters Energy and NNPC filling stations at Toll Gate in Sango Ota,, Alakuko and Abule Egba in Lagos State have also reduced the pump price of diesel to N155 per litre.
On Lagos – Ibadan, Ibadan – Ife, and Ilesha-Akure Road, most of the filling stations have adjusted their pump price below between N142 and N140 per litre.
It will be recalled that the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) in an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect recently had disclosed that activities of member-associations will be halted primarily from July 1, 2017 following harassment by deposit money banks that provided money for their operations.
He complained that the Federal Government was owing the marketers over N400 billion for products supplied for over one year exceeding the mandatory 90-day obligation for reimbursement.
However, mixed reactions have followed the price war development which implies that motorists will have ACESS to cheaper prices of diesel and PMS.
The Chief Executive Officer of Fatgbems Limited, Alhaji Abiodun Fagbemi said that the price war was a positive step by dealers to remain in business and attract motorists.
According to him, price war is what the system is aiming at, a market that uses the interaction of demand and supply to determine the price and that deregulation is all about competition. He expressed fear about the situation of the market because invariably Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) for now is the major supplier. He lamented that many of the marketers can’t afford importation-p as a result of the Dollar effect and bank interest rates. “ However, if the economy is balance and government fully deregulates, the market forces could even push the price down beyond what we are having now,” he said.
To check the excesses of the marketers,, he suggested that the regulatory bodies must be on top of their game. This, he said was because you never can tell customers many not really have genuine value for money spent on adulterated products .
“The price war is a welcome development anyway to be enjoyed if the economy is balanced. Government need to pay up all the money they are owing the marketers so as to effect a positive profit and loss and account”.
A senior environmental analyst warned against explosion like that of the incident at Calabar oil and gas Tank farm.