Oil marketing companies in Lagos say they began to receive fresh stock of petrol late Tuesday and believe that the current acute shortage will begin to ease by Thursday in the commercial capital.
BusinessDay reporters learnt that most of the major oil marketing companies had or were receiving their supplies as at Wednesday afternoon, but it will take another 12 hours or more for the new stock to flow through the system to petrol stations.
Only some of the NNPC fuel stations in Lagos were selling petrol Wednesday morning as the shortage worsened following NNPC’s failure to supply petrol to marketers including those that had deposited cash with the state-owned oil company.
The marketers said they now pay to NNPC for petrol in advance and that sometimes there could be a waiting time of up to ten days between when the deposit is received by NNPC and when petrol is supplied.
NNPC has ended the controversial swap arrangement also called DSDP, a process by which some favoured oil firms like AA Rano and MRS supplied petrol to NNPC in exchange of crude oil and now the state-owned oil firm must pay cash for the petrol that Nigeria requires.
While this has taken out the corruption inherent in the transactions, NNPC appears to be struggling with making the transition, especially given that it is now increasingly difficult for the company to recover the full cost of importing petrol into the country because of the rumoured freeze on petrol price by President Bola Tinubu.
It also means that the highly inadequate supply situation brought about by NNPC being the sole supplier of petrol is likely to now continue for the forceable future.
Petrol deliveries are also being challenged by the rising cost of diesel which transporters need to run their petrol trucks, with some transporters completely abandoning the business as a result.
Motorists in Lagos woke up Wednesday to meet long queues of cars at a handful of the NNPC petrol stations selling products and by mid-day, the situation had worsened with workers leaving the office in desperate attempt to buy petrol.