Fuel scarcity persists as marketers violate ex-depot price regulation

15 March 2016, Lagos – The long queues of motorists waiting to buy petrol, which resurfaced in filling stations few weeks ago, persisted during the weekend as independent marketers continued to violate the priced regulation by selling at exorbitant ex-depot prices, as against the N76.50 approved by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), THISDAY’s market survey has revealed.

Fuel scarcity

Fuel scarcity

The current scarcity had started after the private oil marketing companies exhausted the little allocations approved for them by the PPPRA to import Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for the first quarter of 2016.

PPPRA had approved the importation of 1.5 million tonnes of petrol for the private marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the first quarter fuel import allocations.

While the agency slashed the allocations for private depot owners and marketers by over 70 per cent down to 22 per cent, it increased NNPC’s allocation to 78 per cent.

The development led to a tight supply situation as the NNPC, which claims to have the capacity to wet the country with products, is faced with logistics challenges as most of its stock of petrol is in vessels stuck at the high seas.

THISDAY gathered that the private marketers, who now rely on NNPC, have resorted to selling at high ex-depot to third parties, after getting allocation at the normal ex-depot price of N76.50 at the NNPC-designated private depots.

For instance, a market survey conducted by THISDAY at the weekend showed that while the independent marketers were selling NNPC products inside their depots at the ex-depot price of N76.50, the marketers that got the allocation were selling outside the depots to third parties at very exorbitant prices.

The investigation revealed that at the gate of the MRS depot, petrol was sold between ex-depot price of N110 and N109.50 per litre; outside Folawiyo gate, PMS was sourced at between N106 and N107 per litre, while at Capital Oil, it was sold at between N107 and N108 per litre outside the gate.

At Bovas, the price outside the gate was between N105 and N108 per litre, depending on the marketer’s bargaining power.
However, the situation was different at the depots belonging to the major marketers as there were no third parties waiting to source for products outside the depots.

THISDAY’s investigation further revealed that the situation stemmed from the fact that the major marketers have refused to sell products to other marketers, except their own filling stations.

According to the survey, Forte Oil, Conoil, Mobil, Oando, MRS, Total and Zenon were selling at ex-depot price of N86.50, which is the same price their dealers are expected to sell at the filling stations.
It was further learnt that the major marketers give special margins to their dealers to enable them sell at the same price for which they bought the products at the depots.

However, the price has remained above the official pump price at filling stations owned by the independent marketers because the products were sourced through third parties who bought at high ex-depot prices.

 

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