Many petrol retail outlets in Lagos and Abuja yesterday closed shops while the few that sold had long queues as motorists waited to fill their vehicles’ tanks and buy some in kegs to keep as reserves in expectation that fuel scarcity could worsen.
However, oil marketers assured there was no scarcity and advised fuel consumers not to engage in panic-buying as what led to the gap in fuel supply and distribution, which resulted in the queues at fuel stations, was a minor operational problem.
The problem, according to the marketers, has been addressed and depots are loading 24 hours, and whatever supply gap there is will be closed between today and tomorrow.
The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Clement Isong, told newsmen that all their members’ depots had fuel.
He said there was a slight technical hiccup which the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the marketers had already resolved, adding that there would be normal supply, and any envisaged scarcity would be over this weekend.
Companies that make up MOMAN include Total Nigeria Plc, Conoil Plc, Oando Plc, 11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc), MRS Oil Nigeria Plc and Forte Oil Plc.
Isong said: “All the tanks have product. There is no supply shortage. What caused the queue is a minor operational hiccup. Whenever there is such technical issue and it takes up to 12 hours to resolve, it upsets supply and distribution chains, and that is what happened in this scenario because it created backlogs of loadings that could have been done earlier.
“However, the problem has been resolved. One of the vessels berthed at the port loaded into our tanks yesterday (Thursday), another one will discharge today (Friday) and the third vessel will discharge tomorrow (today).
“I advise the public not to embark on panic-buying as there is enough fuel. The gap in supply created by the technical problem will be closed within the weekend as our members are loading 24 hours through the weekend.
However, an official of one of the depots owned by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), who did not want his identity disclosed, said it was slight scarcity.
According to him, during the election period, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) did not make enough fuel imports. As a result of that shortage in import, there was not enough fuel to go round and the NNPC resorted to rationing what it had in stock.
“If 10 depots are supposed to get supply from NNPC and only five depots were able to get at the end of the day, certainly, there must be a gap, and that is the reason you see queues at the filling stations.
“For instance, there are marketers who have paid for fuel in our depot in the past two to three weeks, and they are yet to be loaded because of inadequate fuel. But I believe that supply shortfall will be addressed soon.
“It is not something so serious. I assume it is a costly oversight on the part of the NNPC.”
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