Indications are that there might be a scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, in the days ahead as long queues are beginning to resurface at filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states.
We gather that while long queues were sighted at many stations on the Oshodi-Ojodu Berger Expressway in Lagos State and some sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, no lines were sighted in Abuja and other states in the North yet.
The long fuel queues, according to observations by The Punch, had gradually stretched into the expressway, slowing down movement on the service lane.
While the North-West filling station had the longest queue, as it dispensed petrol at N568/litre, others such as Eterna – N568/litre; NNPCL – N568/litre; TotalEnergies – N570/litre; and Mobil – N570/litre had shorter queues, but Conoil, Enyo and Oando at Berger in Lagos, had no product to dispense.
Speaking with The Punch, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Satellite Depot, Akin Akinrinade, disclosed that it’s been three weeks since fuel was last loaded at the depot.
Akinrinade explained that even the NNPCL Retail depot is currently operating skeletal dispatching of products.
“From our end, the issue has been with the pipeline vandalism, which we raised an alarm over since July. Satellite depot has not loaded any product in the last three weeks, and whenever there is a problem here, it is going to affect Lagos and the whole of South-West.
“Although I don’t know what has been happening in other depots, from what we gathered yesterday, even NNPC Retail has been operating skeletal product dispatching. The NNPC Retail loaded just three to four trucks to Ikoyi on Monday. No product was dispatched to other places. I don’t know about other depots,” he submitted.
Another source, a top member of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria ( MOMAN), confirmed that demand now outweighs supply.
“NNPCL has reduced importation. And the whole idea was for private individuals also to augment what NNPCL brings in. But marketers are not importing. So NNPCL still remains the only importer,” the source said.
This platform also understands that some depot owners have been unable to import products due to the force crisis.
Sources close to the matter revealed that many filling stations had shut down operations as they could not afford to buy products due to high prices at the depots.
“Stations are now cutting down costs because most don’t have enough money to buy products to distribute to their outlets. That is why you see that those with more than one station had to close down some of them,” one of the sources said.
Another noted, “The economy is tough right now, and marketers have been unable to import products. Emadeb had teamed up with other marketers and brought in about 27 million litres.
“But since then, who else did you hear has brought in the product? We are now back to the era of NNPCL being the sole importer and would still continue to dictate what the market price would be.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that an alarm was raised by managers of the Ejigbo Satellite Depot in July over incessant activities of pipeline vandals on the System 2B pipeline in front of Good Luck Estate at Idimu, Alimosho Local Council Development Area of Lagos.
Also recently, the NNPCL Retail, who had hitherto abandoned its 21 depots across the country due to pipeline vandalism, made efforts to revamp the damaged pipelines by reviving the Satellite depots in Lagos, which resumed operations last year but was again vandalised in July.
When contacted to speak on the development, the spokesperson for NNPCL, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said he was speaking with an official of an oil firm who had an idea about the issue and promised to revert.
Muhammad was, however, not reachable and had not referred back as promised at the time of filling this report.