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Petrol marketers lament supply shortage as queues worsen (photos)

Petrol scarcity persists, drains pockets

As fuel scarcity continued to hit Nigerians and businesses hard on Wednesday, marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have lamented the inability to get petrol supply from depot owners.

Motorists queued for hours on Wednesday at filling stations in major cities, including Lagos, with some spending as much as six hours or more while others kept a vigil on fuel queues so they could be among the first to be served the next morning.

Mike Osatuyi, national operation controller of IPMAN, told BusinessDay that his members were still finding it difficult to source the product from depot owners.

“Since NNPC assumed monopolistic power, to be importing solely, they have to live up to the expectation of meeting the nation’s demand without any excuse or blaming anybody,” Osatuyi said.

Huub Stokman, chief executive officer of OVH Energy Marketing Ltd., in remarks at the 5th edition of Nigerian International Energy Summit on Wednesday, said the scarcity can be prevented with good planning.
“Current challenge shows why we need to have a good emergency plan; even if we have refineries producing PMS, they can go down for maintenance. We should use this as a learning for when the refineries come,” said Stokman.

In January, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and its partners imported petrol that is high with methanol and which failed to comply with local standards.

These led to the quick recall of the products but only after several consumers reported their vehicles have been damaged.

This situation triggered massive fuel queues that are yet to abate after almost a month. The current scarcity has run into the current war between Russia and Ukraine which has driven up oil prices and disrupted global supply chains.

“We cannot rule out this having an impact,” said Clement Isong, the executive director of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, told BusinessDay.

The interplay of these factors is causing disruption at home. Despite the federal government’s reassurance, the ongoing shortage of petrol is worsening across major cities in the country, and some marketers blame current development on the inability of the NNPC to meet supply gaps.

Garba Deen Muhammad, group general manager, group public affairs division at the NNPC, had yet to respond to BusinessDay enquiries.

Market survey around petrol stations in Lagos revealed that five litres of petrol at the black market was sold for between N2,000 to N3,000 on Wednesday.

Many residents, who spoke on the fuel situation, decried the unnecessary hardship they were subjected to in getting petrol as the scarcity was biting harder in major parts of Lagos, and neighbouring towns, forcing many people to spend hours at the filling stations.

Read also: Petrol scarcity takes toll on businesses in Benin

Recounting his ordeals, Festus Martins, a hotel manager, said having gone round many filling stations in Ibadan, with no luck, he was forced to buy petrol at N200 per litre at a filling station.

He said, “The suffering is too much. I have gone around the town looking for fuel to buy, but I didn’t get it, as many stations I visited were not open for business. The few ones selling at the official rate have long queues and they don’t sell in jerry cans.

“I was only able to buy at a place for N200 per litre. Some are even selling as high as N300 per litre.”

On February 14, few days after fuel queues emerged, Bolt Nigeria customers received an in-app notification that there would be a change in ride prices for customers in Lagos starting from February 15, and that has since taken effect.

The company cited increased operating costs incurred by drivers on the app as the reason for the price review, but many have speculated that it was inspired by the fuel scarcity.

“From February 15th, 2022, ride prices in Lagos will be changing in light of the increased operating costs that drivers incur while driving with Bolt.”

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