Fuel Crisis: Kachikwu apologises, says queues to disappear next week

Following backlashes which trailed his comments that the biting fuel scarcity across parts of the country would linger till May, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, in a dramatic u-turn yesterday, said that the long queues in the country’s petrol stations would disappear on April 7, 2016.

Kachikwu who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate committee on Petroleum (Downstream) over the fuel scarcity ravaging the country.

“By 6th or 7th April, the long queues in filing stations would disappear,” he said.

He also apologized to Nigerians over his statement that the biting fuel scarcity will linger till May.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has unveiled strategies to end the fuel scarcity within the next few days.

The corporation has also reassured Nigerians that it was on top of the petroleum products supply and distribution situation, and remained committed to eliminating this endemic issue once and for all within the next few days.

NNPC’s Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammed, said in a statement last night that in the medium term, the corporation was working on sustainable strategies to permanently address the issues and challenges facing the midstream and downstream sectors.

According to him, the overarching objective is to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products, as was the case in the 1970s.

“Our commitment to ramp up our local refining capacity and availability remains unwaivered with the ongoing rehabilitation works targeted at running all Refineries at a minimum 70 per cent capacity utilisation within the next eight to nine months. This is in addition to our initiative of increasing the combined capacity of the domestic refineries through co-locating smaller but cost efficient modular refineries within the existing refineries premises within a time frame of 12-24 months,” Muhammed said.

He further stated that as a result of the challenges that major oil marketers faced in contributing their supply quota due to constraint in accessing foreign exchange and outstanding subsidy obligations, the corporation was burdened with the obligation to guarantee almost 100 per cent in the national supply.

Muhammed noted that since the domestic crude oil supply of 445,000 barrels per day could only guarantee about 50 per cent of the 45 million litres national requirement for petrol, NNPC had secured presidential approval to take additional crude oil volume to guarantee national supply of petrol.

To curb storage and logistics challenges, he said the corporation was working on a joint partnership with technically and financially capable investors to ensure that petroleum products transportation and storage facilities were efficiently operated on an open-access common-carrier user-tariff basis.

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.