By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The persistent fuel queues in the country will disappear in the next few days going by assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Giving an update on the supply and distribution of the product during a press briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, a management team lead by its Chief Executive Officer (Upstream), Bello Rabiu pledged that the corporation will saturate the market with more petrol than the nation can consume in just a matter of days.
Flanked by the Chief Operating Officer (Downstream), Henry Nkem-Obi; Chief Operating Officer (Refining) Anibo Kragha and Group General Manager (Public Affairs), Garbadeen Mohammed, Rabiu said as at Wednesday, five vessels were discharging products in various parts of the country.
He said apart from these, private importers were also discharging at least 120million liters of their products to complement NNPC imports.
He explained that there was delay in circulation of the products across the country because they had to be trucked since the pipelines were still not in good condition.
Rabiu said: “The plan going forward from today, we want to make sure that we give more than what is required in the whole country. The total requirement of the country is just about 1,300 trucks but our plan is to make at least 1,500 available everyday until this thing clears up.
“So, we want to make sure that we saturate the market in a very short time and I think you can see clearly now that Lagos is almost cleared and Abuja is getting better. Other places will follow.”
He said the corporation knows what each state needs and the demand would be met, saying “we just want to ensure this thing happen and quickly too.”
He again apologized for the fuel scarcity on behalf of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the NNPC, assuring that it would never repeat itself.
Rabiu noted that part of the ways to guard against reoccurrence was to have in-country storage capacity so that it would take minimum time to move products to depots in any part of the country, adding that the NNPC was therefore concentrating on that.
The CEO stated that efforts were also underway to ensure that the refineries and the pipelines were put back in order to achieve stability and make fuel queues a thing of the past.
He appealed to Nigerians to refrain from panic buying as, according to him, the products would now be available on a regular basis in all the filling stations around the country.
Rabiu also noted that the Port Harcourt Refinery had started delivering about five million litres a day, enough for Port Harcourt and Bayelsa areas while Warri was close to adding another two million litres.
He said 12 cargoes of fuel ordered by the corporation online were expected to be on Nigerian waters by next week to meet the demand and supply balance.
NNPC, he said, was also working to ensure that private importers who had approvals to import get foreign exchange cover to bring in the cargoes on time.
Rabiu revealed the country was spending about $1.8billion per quarter to import fuel.
According to him, “As we speak today, a cargo of products of about 49 million litres will cost us about 13 to 14million dollars and we need about 45 to 50 million litres to satisfy the country fully depending on the time.
“So, if you assume about 15million dollars per day to actually import what the country requires which can easily go up to 20million depending on the price, it means you need 20million times 90(days) for one quarter.
“So, 90 times 20million is 1.8billion dollars to actually import the total requirement of the country in a quarter,” he stated.
Fuel scarcity over in days as more stock arrives – NNPC
By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.