Fuel scarcity across Nigeria to reduce from next week – Officials

The NNPCL also promised that there would be an improvement in the supply of petroleum products across the country.

The petrol scarcity being witnessed across the country will reduce from next week, officials said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian government also on Tuesday warned against attempts to disrupt the nation’s petroleum supply and distribution chain.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, gave the warning in a statement issued by his senior adviser on media and communication, Horatius Egua.

The statement said the warning came on the heels of renewed efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to maintain the 450.92 million liters of the weekly evacuation of petrol to different filling stations across the country.

The NNPCL, separately, promised an improvement in petrol supply across the country from next week.

While reassuring Nigerians of the federal government‘s determination to ensure adequate supply, Mr. Sylva called on security agencies to prevent attempts by “subversive elements” to cause any disruption to fuel supply ahead of the general elections.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari‘s government is sincere in finding permanent solutions to the fuel problems in the country and urged relevant bodies in the oil and gas sector to join hands with the government in ending the problem.

The statement noted that during a tour of selected petrol stations in Abuja last Friday, Mr. Sylva expressed the government’s satisfaction with the efforts of the NNPCL in ensuring fuel availability across the country.

In the last month, NNPCL has maintained a total weekly evacuation of 450.92 million liters, a daily average of 64.42 million liters.

While calling for collective support in dealing with the fuel challenges, Mr. Sylva said the government feels the pains of the ordinary Nigerian occasioned by the lingering fuel queues.

“The problems associated with fuel queues in the country are not a problem that came with Buhari’s government but a fallout of the long years of rot and decadence in the fuel products supply and distribution chain by successive governments.

“The Buhari administration is addressing the fuel problem holistically stressing that this ‘is the first time in so many years that a government is addressing the problems associated with fuel supply and distribution collectively,” he said.

He further explained that the federal government has also rehabilitated refineries neglected over the years.

He said the government, through the NNPCL, acquired a 20 percent equity stake in the Dangote refinery and has begun licensing modular refineries.

NNPC’s Intervention

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited promised that there would be a significant improvement in the supply of petroleum products across the country next week.

The NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, disclosed this while speaking during an interview on Channels Television Tuesday evening.

Nigerians have had a tough time getting petroleum products at filling stations across the country in recent months. The scarcity has persisted despite the government’s repeated claims it had enough petroleum products in stock amid a poor supply of electricity across the country.

Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of a 14-member steering committee to address the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) also attributed the lingering fuel scarcity in the country to a disruption in the product distribution chain caused by the activities of cross-border smugglers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Kyari said the supply glitch would be resolved soon.

“I apologize for the situation. On behalf of all of us, the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry. Definitely, not surely exclusive. Having said this, it is unfortunate. It’s a glitch.

“We are responsible for resolving this glitch. We will resolve this,” Mr. Kyari said.

He noted that market forces would determine how quickly the glitch is resolved.

“Now, within the next one week, I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next week; no, I can’t guarantee that because a number of things are out of our control, and of course, the market forces will determine some of these issues.

“But I believe we’ll see substantial and relative ease compared to today in the next week.

“We have no benefit in doing this. We are families. We are members and part of this community. We are very proud of this country. We want this country to prosper. We don’t want Nigerians to suffer and of course, as a matter of condition, we don’t think that anyone should go through this thing,” he added.

The NNPC boss said the company has been on top of the situation to bring the crisis under control by increasing the supply of petroleum into the market.

“We know that the solution is excess supply. Once we can do excess supply across the country and locations, you will resolve this issue, which is exactly what we’re doing now.

“We’re ramping up evacuation today. Daily, we are doing more than 70 million liters into the market against the regular evacuation of up to 63-64 million liters.

“This will work, and we believe the ease we’re seeing in many locations today. I don’t want to cite specific locations, but we see ease across the country. This is easing up,” he said.

Speaking further on the country’s fuel scarcity challenge amid an abundance of crude products in the country, Mr. Kyari argued that fuel queue is not peculiar to any country.

“It happens everywhere whenever you have breaches of pipes, pipeline issues, and so on.

“We don’t hope that this happens to our country, but you must have a guarantee of supply in your country, which is why we are focused on delivering our refineries rehabilitation projects so that, ultimately, this product becomes close to us.

“Now, this hasn’t happened. The refineries’ rehabilitation is not completed. The Dangote refinery hasn’t taken off. Both of them will happen, and once that happens, you have the safety and security of supply near you.

“And the guarantee I have now is that NNPC has locked supply into this country irrespective of the financing challenges we’re facing,” he said.

Source: Premium Times

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