Scarcity: NNPC blames logistics, flooding as petrol queues grow longer

–Sells at N1,300 per litre in black market

FIVE days into the ongoing acute petrol scarcity in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the NNPC Limited, on Monday, attributed the supply shortage to logistics challenges and flooding in the coastal part of the country.

Queues had resurfaced at filling stations in Abuja and its environs last Wednesday for the third time this yesterday and continued into the new week as more filling stations ran out of stock.

Checks around the city showed that almost all the stations shut with only the NNPC mega filling stations, NIPCO and few major marketers opened to customers. Long queues and chaos marked the few dispensing stations as motorists tried to gain entrance into the stations through the exit gates.

Black marketers who sold the product in gallons increased the price for a ten litre keg from N10,000 sold to N13,000 in the central area of Abuja.

Providing reasons for the latest shortage, NNPC Limited in a statement by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Mr. Olufemi Soneye said adverse weather also affected ship to ship transfers of the product to the ports.

The company said: “The NNPC Ltd wishes to state that the fuel queues seen in the FCT and some parts of the country, were as a result of disruption of ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, between Mother Vessels and Daughter Vessels resulting from recent thunderstorm.

“The adverse weather condition has also affected berthing at jetties, truck load-outs and transportation of products to filling stations, causing a disruption in station supply logistics.

“The NNPC Ltd also states that due to flammability of petroleum products and in compliance with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) regulations, it was impossible to load petrol during rainstorms and lightning”.

Mr. Soneye added that “adherence to these regulations is mandatory as any deviation could pose severe danger to the trucks, filling stations and human lives.

Similarly, the development was compounded by consequential flooding of truck routes which has constrained movement of PMS from the coastal corridors to the Federal Capital, Abuja”.

He stated that the NNPC Ltd “is working with relevant stakeholders to resolve the logistics challenges and restore seamless supply of petrol to affected areas.

“Already, loading has commenced in areas where these challenges have subsided, and we are hoping the situation will continue to improve in the coming days and full normalcy will be restored”, he assured motorists.

He urged them to “avoid panic buying and hoarding of petroleum products”.

The Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Chief Chinedu Ukadike had told Vanguard the marketers had not received the product for some time.

Ukadike explained that it might not be unconnected with the impending delivery of premium motor spirit, pms, from the Dangote Refinery.

He noted that marketers were threading softly in order not to incur losses if the petrol price crashes as a result of supply from the refinery.

He said: “Supply has become epileptic again and we have not received adequate supply in recent times, remember we still depend on the importation of products. Once there is any shortage in supply or logistic problem or procrastination, then the impact is almost immediate.

“I also believe that since Dangote announced its petrol supply intention, those supplying NNPC are skeptical of bringing in products because they don’t want to incur the losses which they suffered when Dangote entered the market and slashed the price of AGO (Automated Gas Oil popularly known as diesel).

“These are market indices and someone has to be careful not to plunge itself into unnecessary deficit. For us independent marketers, most of the products come from NNPC Retails but the company has not supplied us with any product. They allocate products to tank farm owners”.

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