Nigerians should avoid panic buying because the scarcity of petrol will soon be over, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited said yesterday.
It has begun 24-hour operations at its depots and retail outlets in a bid to tackle the problem.
NNPC said it has 1billion litres of petrol, which is being distributed.
It is expecting 2.3billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, by the end of this month.
Its Group Executive Director, Downstream, Mr. Adetunji Adeyemi, said the expected stock would increase sufficiency to 30 days.
According to him, the supply disruptions and queues were caused by the discovery and subsequent quarantine of the methanol-blended cargoes of petrol.
Adeyemi said in a statement: “To address the situation, over 2.3 Billion litres will arrive in the country between now and the end of February 2022.
“This will restore the sufficiency level above the national target of 30 days.
“As of today (yesterday), NNPC has over one billion litres of petrol in stock, and the petrol being dispensed today at the various filling stations in the country is safe.”
Adeyemi said in order to accelerate PMS distribution across the country, NNPC has commenced 24 hours operations at its depots and retail outlets.
He added that the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot Owners and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had also commenced 24 hours loading and dispensing activities in some of their designated outlets.
NNPC, he said, has constituted a monitoring team, with the support of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and security agencies to ensure smooth distribution of PMS nationwide.
He implored Nigerians to avoid panic buying, adding that the ongoing efforts will be sustained to restore normalcy in a few days.
But, the IPMAN National President, Alhaji Debo Ahmed, is concerned that the ex-depot price has exceeded N165 per litre instead of the official N158.5 per litre at the private depots.
According to him, private depots were not selling at the official rates.
“It depends on the depot. Some of them are selling at N165,” he said.
“None of my members is hoarding any fuel. If they hoard it, it is tying down their capital. It is illegal.”
He urged the NNPC to fast-track the importation of petrol to bridge the demand gap.
IPMAN Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, told our correspondent that marketers were not loading petrol from private depots because there was no profit.
He urged the NNPC and NMDPRA to compel the private depots to sell at the official rate.
Maigandi said his members have been directed to take an inventory of the toxic fuel, adding that they have complied with the directive not to sell the contaminated product.
MOMAN confirmed that they have started receiving PMS supply from the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
Its Executive Secretary, Clement Ison, who spoke with The Nation on phone, noted that the marketers now work round the clock to accelerate supply to Nigerians.
He denied the sale of PMS above the official ex-depot price.
Isong urged the motorists to desist from panic buying.
He is hopeful that the queues would fizzle out soon.
The Nation gathered from one of the marketers that the NMDPRA has invited the major stakeholders in the downstream industry to a meeting tomorrow.
Part of the agenda, according to a marketer, is the deliberation on the freight rate of PMS which has stalled the haulage of the product.
An NMDPRA source said the authority was monitoring the sales of the product across the country.
According to him, the withdrawal of the toxic petrol was accountable for the shortage.
Asked whether the contaminated petrol has been completely withdrawn from sale, he answered in the affirmative.
“Some of the stations have fuel now. Some of the trucks had to go back to get another one. That is the cause of the delay. But we are getting new ones now,” the source said.
As the scarcity of petrol worsened yesterday, the few retail outlets that sold the product were overcrowded with motorists queuing as far as two kilometres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Some said they queued at the petrol stations overnight.
Black-market vendors sold for between N500 to N700 per litre.
Many Nigerians expressed displeasure over the persistent scarcity of the product.
Our correspondent found many petrol stations in Lagos shut; others that had the product were besieged by motorists, some with queues stretching to several kilometres.
It was also learnt yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari did not query the Chief Executive Officer of the NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, contrary to reports.
A competent source in the Presidency debunked the reports that the President directed the Minister of State, Chief Timipre Sylva, to issue a query to Ahmed.
Many Nigerians had expected that by now, there would be consequences for officials under whose purview the importation of the toxic petrol occurred.
But the source said President was more concerned about the restoration of smooth supply of quality petrol to Nigerians, “and not recriminations or blame games.”