19 February 2014, Lagos – Few weeks after the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) warned of imminent fuel scarcity, following the delay in the release of the first quarter 2014 petrol import allocations to marketers by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), long queues of motorists waiting to buy petrol have resurfaced in Lagos and other parts of the South-west, THISDAY has learnt.
THISDAY gathered that with the non-release of the import allocations, Oil Marketing and Trading (OM&T) companies and other importers had since exhausted their allocations for the fourth quarter of 2013.
With this development, it was learnt, the private marketers now depend on the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which controls 60 per cent of import allocations, for product supply.
This situation, it was gathered had created a crisis situation in the market, with the ex-depot price of PMS rising to between N94 and N94.50 kobo per litre in the few depots that have products in Lagos, yesterday, fueling concerns that most of the marketers might adjust their pumps to be able to sell at N97 at filling stations.
THISDAY gathered that the limited volume of product in the few depots – Acorn Petroleum, Capital Oil, Folawiyo, Integrated Oil, Heyden Petroleum, Sahara Energy, Eterna Oil and NIPCO Plc – might be exhausted by Friday if there is no replenishment.
Independent marketers were seen complaining yesterday in some of these depots that they raised bank drafts to lift NNPC products in the private depots that have throughput arrangement with the corporation, since the past two weeks but the officials have refused to accept these drafts because of shortage of products.
Investigation also revealed that marketers lifting products to the South-west were mostly affected as there is no product in Ejigbo Depot, while trucks going to Abuja were being given preferential treatment.
While petrol was sold at N105 and N110 per litre in Ibadan yesterday, there was acute scarcity of the product in Abeokuta, since Monday.
The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Abdulkadir Aminu, had promised that IPMAN members would bridge products to all parts of the country.
However, independent marketers bridging to most parts of the North were also complaining that they could not access NNPC products from the private depots, weeks after raising bank drafts for them to be programmed by PPMC.
But a top official of the NNPC, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said the situation was created by artificial scarcity and panic buying, stressing that the NNPC had adequate stock of products.
The depots owned by the major marketers were supplying products to only their filling stations at official price.
– Ejiofor Alike, This Day