166.91m litres of fuel stuck in depots as marketers blame NNPC for scarcity


About 166.91 million litres of premium motor spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, are stuck in various depots in Lagos, a situation that gave rise to the resurgence of long queues at filling stations in Lagos metropolis and other parts of the country.fuel

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its downstream subsidiary, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, are being blamed for the current petrol shortages because of a loading directive not exceeding 50 trucks daily given to the depots.

The blame comes as NNPC said it has stepped up collaboration with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, and other downstream industry players to end the resurgence of fuel queues in some major cities across the country, especially in Lagos and environs.

It is uncertain how much fruit this effort will yield as Vanguard investigations revealed that of an opening stock level of 140.48 million litres of petrol available in 31 depots in the Lagos area yesterday, only 6.09 million litres were loaded out.

This leaves an outstanding of about 135 million litres stuck in the depots, which had increased to about 166.91 million litres closing stock at press time.

Broken further, of the 59 depots operated by majors, independents and private owners in Lagos, 31 had the available stock quantity, but only 16 depots had “liftable” PMS, that is, had enough stock above the jet stock level or above minimum requirement levels.

Further investigations revealed that most of the depots being used by NNPC/PPMC for throughput or storage purposes were directed not to load above 50 trucks daily, thus compounding the shortages situation, a development that some depots operators cashed in to sell at N105/litre ex-depot, against government’s prescribed N77 per litre.

According to one of the depot operators, who preferred anonymity: “No matter the quantity of product NNPC gives us, since they have said not more than 50 trucks per day, we cannot go beyond that.

“Our depot is now like a ghost yard, because we’ve finished with the 50, but we still have stock, and there is a long queue of trucks waiting to load outside.”

But NNPC, in a statement, yesterday, said it had “secured the commitment of the leadership of MOMAN for effective collaboration in this regard and assured that the queues will disappear in the days ahead as supplies are ramped up across the country.”

The statement signed by the corporation’s spokesman, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, also said: “The corporation noted that to achieve this, truck-out to filling stations in the Lagos area has been increased from the regular 245 to 295 trucks per day (9.7 million) while truck-out to fuel stations in Abuja from Suleja depot has been stepped up to 210 trucks per day (6.9 million litres) from the regular supply of 160 trucks per day.”

It added that “similar increment in supply volume has been activated in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Kano and Kaduna areas to ensure seamless availability of petroleum products across every nook and cranny of the country.”

While appealing for understanding and support from members of the public, the NNPC assured that it was doing everything possible to end challenges experienced by motorists, commuters and the general public in accessing petrol.

“Within the last 48 hours we have received six cargoes of petrol (270 million litres) and beginning from March 1, 2016, we shall begin to receive one cargo of petrol every day (45 million litres),” the corporation said.