EconomyOil and Gas

NNPC extends fuel station operating hours amid nationwide petrol scarcity

Key Points

  • NNPC extends fuel station operating hours to improve supply amid ongoing petrol scarcity.
  • Adverse weather conditions and logistics challenges disrupt petrol distribution.
  • Fuel prices surge to N1,100/litre in some areas due to black market activity and supply shortages.
  • Joint efforts by NNPC and regulatory authorities aim to stabilize supply and pricing.
  • No planned increase in official pump prices, with strategies in place to mitigate supply issues.

 

Nigeria is grappling with a severe fuel crisis as long queues at petrol stations and soaring prices continue to plague the nation.

In a bid to alleviate the current fuel shortage, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has mandated that fuel stations operate longer hours to ensure a steady supply and distribution of petrol.

The Executive Vice President, Downstream, NNPC Ltd, Dapo Segun, emphasised the necessity of this measure during a joint inspection of stations with officials from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Also Read: NNPC seeks industry collaboration to boost crude oil production, declares state of emergency

The inspection aimed to monitor supply and distribution efforts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and across Nigeria.

Weather and Logistical Challenges

NNPC attributed the recent fuel queues to disruptions caused by thunderstorms, which have hindered ship-to-ship transfers of petrol between mother and daughter vessels. These adverse weather conditions have also affected berthing at jetties, truck load-outs, and transportation of products to filling stations, further complicating supply logistics.

Segun highlighted the safety concerns associated with unloading Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) during thunderstorms, which necessitated the suspension of ship-to-shore movements.

“There was a gap in the ship-to-shore discharge of PMS, a volatile liquid. During thunderstorms, it could not be discharged; rather, we had to suspend ship-to-shore movement,” he explained.

Additionally, deteriorating road conditions due to rain and flooding have exacerbated the situation, making it difficult to transport fuel efficiently.

Collaboration and Monitoring

To address these challenges, NNPC and NMDPRA have intensified joint monitoring efforts to ensure that fuel queues disappear and that petrol is adequately distributed.

Executive Director of Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure at NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha, reassured the public that officials are on the ground to prevent hoarding and other nefarious activities by black marketers.

“Due to the tightness in supply, there may be elements who will try to take advantage of that. We assure Nigerians to go about their businesses and purchase the volume they need without panic,” he stated.

Surge in Fuel Prices

Despite these efforts, the fuel crisis has led to a significant increase in petrol prices, with black marketers selling petrol for as high as N1,100/litre in some areas. Retail outlets in Abuja, Nasarawa, and Niger have also increased their pump prices to N900/litre. This surge in prices is largely due to the scarcity of PMS and the exploitation of the situation by black marketers.

Also Read: Dangote Refinery to begin petrol supply in July, confirms Edwin

Assurance from NNPC

NNPC has acknowledged the difficulties and has begun loading fuel in areas where weather conditions have improved, and efforts are ongoing to restore normalcy.

President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed that NNPC is working diligently to resolve the supply issues. He noted that while the queues may persist for a few more days, particularly in locations far from major depots, the situation is expected to improve soon.

“Yes, it is being addressed, and we’ve had an in-depth review of the matter. They’ve given us assurance that they are working on it, and so we should be able to get products in our retail outlets,” he said.

Long-Term Solutions

For a lasting solution to Nigeria’s fuel scarcity, Gillis-Harry emphasised the need for collaboration between the government, NNPC, and downstream oil sector operators.

He proposed the establishment of a council with grassroots knowledge of the business to proactively address potential supply issues based on empirical data.

“We should be data-driven by the design and plan that we put together,” he stated.

Regional Impact

The fuel crisis has not only affected Abuja but has also spread to Lagos and other regions. In Lagos, long queues were observed at several filling stations, and the shortage has led to widespread inconvenience. Similarly, residents of Ogun, Sokoto, and Delta states have faced exorbitant prices and long waiting times at petrol stations.

Also Read: Mixed Signals: NNPCL Denies Plans to Increase Petrol Price to N1,200

In Ogun State, petrol prices ranged between N700 and N750/litre at independent filling stations, while in Sokoto, prices soared to between N900 and N950/litre. Delta State saw prices between N730 and N790/litre, with long queues at the NNPC mega filling station in Asaba.

NNPC’s Response

NNPC’s spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, reiterated that the fuel queues were primarily due to weather-related disruptions and logistics challenges. He added that the company is working closely with relevant stakeholders to resolve these issues and ensure a seamless supply of petrol.

“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 transfer of petrol between mother vessels and daughter vessels resulting from recent thunderstorms,” Soneye said.

Also Read: Petrol: Nigeria’s Debt to Traders Rise to $6 billion

He urged motorists to avoid panic buying and hoarding of petroleum products, as efforts are underway to stabilise the situation.

The fuel crisis in Nigeria highlights the critical need for robust logistics and supply chain management in the petroleum sector. While NNPC and regulatory authorities are taking steps to address the immediate challenges, long-term solutions involving collaboration and data-driven strategies are essential to prevent future occurrences. As the nation waits for relief, the importance of a stable and efficient fuel supply chain becomes increasingly evident.

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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