09 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos —As Nigeria continues to find a solution to the lingering fuel scarcity, a new report says it now imports almost one million tonnes of petrol per month from Europe.
According to shipping data obtained from Reuters, a rare vessel, Suezmax has been booked by a global energy and commodity trading company founded in Rotterdam in 1966 by Henk Viëtor and Jacques Detiger, Vitol.
The Vitol-booked, 115,000-tonne cargo is sailing to West Africa from the Latvian port of Ventspils, according to Reuters’ ship tracking and trading sources.
NNPC in December said it had more than doubled its daily supply to the country’s tanker drivers.
The corporation has in recent weeks, rely heavily on the companies that hold contracts to swap crude oil for products to step up their imports.
Vitol is among 10 pairings of traders and local partners that hold such swap contracts.
Nigeria is a country of more than 180 million people.
The restocking comes as petrol demand in other regions fell during winter, and has helped boost fuel and refining margins in Europe just as the continent’s refineries prepare to shut for seasonal maintenance.
The cargo is expected to arrive around Feb. 22, when it will offload into smaller vessels that can easily sail into Nigeria’s ports, which cannot accommodate the unusually large ship.
According to traders, Vitol used another Suezmax, the Star Energy, to move petrol along the same route in September.
The cargo adds to roughly 1 million tonnes that are already booked to sail for Lagos alone from Europe this month, according to industry monitor Genscape.
That followed a similar amount imported through the same route in January, compared with just under 500,000 tonnes in November, Genscape data showed.
Nigerian imported 700,000 tonnes in October and roughly 800,000 tonnes in November.
Trade sources said nearly 1.7 million tonnes of petrol arrived in West African ports in January from European and Baltic ports.