06 January 2014, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) have explained the circumstances surrounding the adequate supply of petrol experienced during the recent Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The acting Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, told THISDAY at the weekend that the uninterrupted fuel supply was a result of the robust measures put in place since 2011 by the NNPC and its subsidiary, Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
He called on Nigerians to discard the mindset that there would be fuel scarcity at every festive period, adding that the NNPC had stopped fuel crisis during festive seasons since 2011.
Ibrahim stated that on assumption of office in 2010, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had directed the NNPC and the PPMC to submit a plan of action to prevent the persistent fuel crisis associated with festive periods in the country.
According to him, the NNPC and the PPMC recommended the rehabilitation and Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries and the rehabilitation and repairs of the vandalised products pipelines and depots to ensure that petrol is pumped through pipelines to the 21 PPMC depots across the country.
“Before she assumed office, most of the products were trucked with thousands of trucks on the roads and highways. This is not good during festive seasons because with 33 million litres of petrol consumed daily during normal periods, how many trucks will you put on the roads to meet up with increased demand during festive seasons? She insisted that the depots and pipelines must be fixed. It took the whole of 2010 for the NNPC to do the research and came up with the action plan that was implemented from the beginning of 2011. From the end of 2011 and 2012, we started seeing the results,” he said.
Ibrahim said the Aba, Gombe, Makurdi and Minna Depots for example, were not working for 10 years, adding that Suleja Depot in Niger State, which was a little better, was not working optimally.
He said the minister’s directives resulted in the rehabilitation of the depots with Calabar, Aba and Warri being upgraded from analogue to digital loading meters.
He said the minister’s directives also led to the completion of the repair of the Port Harcourt-Aba, Warri-Benin and Jos-Gombe pipeline networks to ensure the pumping of products to the depots in those areas.
“She turned attention to the refineries and directed that the original builders should do not only the TAM but a complete rehabilitation so that the refineries can go back to their nameplate capacity. She insisted that the refineries must work but that even if all the refineries are producing at nameplate capacity, they will produce only a fraction of the national consumption. In recognition of this fact, she directed that the NNPC should be the sole supplier. The implication is that when there is no fuel, nobody should blame the private marketers but the NNPC because she directed that it must be the responsibility of the NNPC to import,” he added.
Ibrahim also stated that before the minister came on board, there was an existing regulation that provided that the country should maintain strategic fuel reserves but this law was not implemented by the previous administrations.
He said the minister also directed the NNPC to maintain strategic reserves for the country.
Speaking on the issue, the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley, confirmed that the NNPC and the private marketers had 27-day petrol sufficiency stock as at last night and described as unfounded the fear of a “looming scarcity.”
Stanley said the fear of scarcity was due to the usual practice, where some marketers tend to stock-pile products, in order to profiteer from panic-buying by unsuspecting citizens during the festive periods.
Stanley stated that the robust stock level was as a result of the proactive measures put in place by the Minister of Petroleum to ensure steady products supply.
He said the PPPRA national petroleum products stocks data indicates that the country had been consistent with land base stock for the last three weeks, which last night stood at about 14-day sufficiency.
According to him, this is in addition to the marine products stock level, which stands at about 13-day sufficiency.
“These therefore gave the nation about 27-day products sufficiency in stock. Similarly, daily products discharges by vessels at the depots nationwide revealed that a total of about 200 million litres of PMS were discharged as at December 31, 2013 with many more vessel nominations being handled by the PPPRA,” he said.
Executive Secretary of the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Femi Olawore, had attributed the current adequate fuel supply in the country to the payment of the outstanding arrears of subsidy to the major marketers by the federal government.
– This Day