The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has moved from importing around 90 per cent of the petroleum products consumed in the country to being the sole importer since January this year.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the downstream arm of the NNPC Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih disclosed this in an interview with the corporation’s in-house monthly news publication called NNPC News.
Few months ago, oil marketers comprising mostly downstream outlets of Total, Forte Oil, MRS, Conoil, Mobil and NIPCO, among others imported around 50 per cent of the petroleum products consumed in the country while NNPC supplied the balance with little contribution from the refineries.
But the marketers were said to have stopped fuel importation due to shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude prices, which they claimed have made it unprofitable to import petrol and sell at N145 per litre. This has since left NNPC to carry the fuels supply burden of the country.
“If you look at the supply ratio between NNPC and the marketers in the last one year, there was a time around August 2016 when we were bringing in 50 per cent of the total PMS requirement for the country” Obih said in the interview.
“But the ratio has changed since late last year. In fact, since January NNPC has been carrying the fuels supply burden 100 per cent,” he added in response to a question whether NNPC has the capacity to import enough fuel to wet the country in the midst of teething import challenges.
The COO attributed NNPC’s ability to do this to the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP), a scheme, he said has enabled the corporation meet those obligations in a very efficient manner and at the right pricing.
Oil marketers said that they stopped fuel importation when it became unprofitable.
The Executive Secretary of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Mr. Femi Adewole told Daily Trust on phone that because the price of crude oil has risen it was no longer profitable for members to import fuel and sell at N145 per litre.
“Our landing cost is above N145. So, NNPC has been bearing the burden, they are importing and we are buying from them,” while his counterpart at the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Mr. Obafemi Olawore was not immediately available to comment.