Apapa gridlock may return as NUPENG resume fuel distribution

Stakeholders in the petroleum sector, at a public hearing organised by the Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), yesterday resolved to mobilise their members for the immediate distribution of fuel across the country.

Senator Magnus Abe, who read a communique signed by the stakeholders after the session, explained that the Finance Minister/Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and other stakeholders, who attended the meeting, unanimously agreed to the peace deal, in the interest of the nation.

He also explained that following the intervention of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the strike embarked upon by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Energy Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), had been called off.

He said, “We have agreed on the following: First is that the Minister of Finance will give an undertaking to the Major Marketers and Depot Managers that the work of the committee being headed by CBN and PPPR, on the outstanding claims, would be concluded and be reflected in the handover notes to the incoming administration.”

The Senator said the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria had agreed to begin lifting of petroleum products nationwide within the next six hours and to also pay the National Association of Road Transport Owners, the transport cost that would be determined by them.”

He added that the Depot Managers had agreed to open all their depots nationwide so that lifting would commence and had agreed with the DPR to withdraw the operational licence of any depot which was not opened for fuel lifting.

Abe said the NNPC had directed all relevant staff, working in the various depots across the country, to work 24 hours, including Saturday and Sunday, for the next two weeks until normalcy returns to the sector.

He explained that the committee would reach out to the Lagos State Government on the agreement reached and the need for their contribution towards ensuring smooth lifting of fuel in all the depots.

SInce tankers are expected to lift petroelum products from fuel depots and tank farms in Apapa, it is expected that a good number of them will converge on the port city today. This means the gridlock, which characterises the roads leading into and out of Apapa may be on its way back.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.