By Patience Danjuma
The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will sell petroleum products directly to marketers, it was learnt yesterday.
The middlemen in the chain are to be eliminated in one of the moves to combat fuel scarcity.
A meeting of the committee of stakeholders set up at the Presidential Villa reportedly took the decision Wednesday.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, chaired the meeting at his office.
The stakeholders predicated their decision on the rising price of crude oil, which led to the increases price of petrol.
Although the NNPC is supposed to supply 50 per cent of the products to complement the marketers, no other group is able to import petrol now because of the price.
Its landing cost is N171 per litre and the Federal Government has said nobody should sell above N145.
The marketers stopped importing the product, making NNPC the sole importer since the removal of Petrol Support Fund (PSF) also known as subsidy.
A source close to yesterday’s meeting said, “We have already told them that it is only the NNPC that will be able to import the PMS. The marketers cannot import the PMS because of the cost of the crude oil.
“This has also caused the price of the PMS to increase. Thus, if the marketers import it at the rate at which they are selling it now, automatically they cannot sell it at N145 per litre.”
The Federal Government, it was learnt, resolved to supply products directly to the independent marketers to remove the middlemen in the distribution chain and reduce the cost of the petrol.
Owing to the decision, the Federal Government has removed the intermediary tDepot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), from who the independent marketers were getting the fuel.
One of the fundamental decisions that the meeting arrived at was that there will be no increase in the price of the petrol.
The minister raised a committee to look into the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) scarcity that crippled transportation in the country in December last year.
“The discussion was how to make the fuel available nationwide.
“The have formed a committee from today’s meeting to look into how to solve this fuel problem.
“They told us that instead of a triple arrangement, they will be giving independent marketers their products directly. This is to enable us get our product directly and sell at the pump price. This is instead of passing it through DAPPMA to IPMAN,” the source said.
The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Mr. Dapo Abiodun, raised hope that petrol supply will soon stabilise.
He said four vessels laden with petrol were discharging at the Lagos port.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, has called for an immediate assessment of the damage caused by a fire on the Escarvos to Lagos Pipeline (ELP), a natural gas pipeline which supplies gas from Escravos region of the Niger Delta area to Lagos.
The pipeline also supplies gas to power plants in the South West, in addition to feeding the West Africa Gas Pipeline System.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, made this known in a statement yesterday.
The incineration of the ELP, which was built in 1989, was suspected to have been caused by a bush fire January 2, 2018 at Abakila, in Ondo State.
NNPC firemen were drafted to the scene and were able to contain the fire from the leak point of the pipeline incident. However, the fire could not be extinguished due to the high pressure of the line.
To put off the fire, the line would require being isolated and depressurised, which might lead to a complete shutdown of the pipeline segment for repair works to be carried out.
The exercise will affect gas supply to customers in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States with subsequent shutdown of some power plants with a combined generating capacity of 1,143MW. The affected pipelines are Egbin, Lagos, Olorunshogo, PEL Olorunshogo, Ogun, Paras Power Plant, Ogun and Omotosho plant, Ondo State.
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