The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday assured that the persistent fuel scarcity in the country will be a thing of the past in the next few days.
The latest assurance was given by NNPC management team led by its Chief Executive Officer (Upstream), Bello Rabiu, while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on an update on the supply and distribution of the product.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who told State House correspondents last month that he could not perform magic to end fuel scarcity, had put early May as the earliest time for queues to disappear.
He immediately denied what he told the journalists when the heat was on him.
Kachikwu, who later told National Assembly lawmakers that the fuel queues will ease off by the 7th of this month, has not been able to keep his word as fuel scarcity still persists across the country.
But Bello Rabiu, who was flanked by the Chief Operating Officer (Downstream), Henry Nkem-Obi; Chief Operating Officer (Refineries), Anibo Kragha and Group General Manager (Public Affairs), Garbadeen Mohammed on Wednesday, said that the Corporation will soon saturate the market with more petrol than the nation can consume.
According to him, five vessels were already discharging products in various parts of the country.
Apart from this, he said that private importers were also discharging at least 120 million liters of the product to complement NNPC’s imports.
The only delay now, he said has to do with circulation of the products across the country using trucks as pipelines were still not in good condition.
He 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.”
Stressing that the Corporation knows what each state needs, he said that the demand would be met.
He apologized for the fuel scarcity on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the NNPC, assuring that it would never repeat itself.
He said that part of the ways to guard against reccurrence 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.
He said that the NNPC is focusing on doing that.
Efforts, he said, were also underway to ensure that the refineries and the pipelines were put back to order to achieve stability and make fuel queues a thing of the past.
He appealed to Nigerians to refrain from panic buying as the products would now be available on a regular basis in all the filling stations around the country.
According to him, the Port Harcourt Refinery has started delivering about 5 million liters a day enough for Port Harcourt and Bayelsa areas while Warri was close to adding another 2 million liters.
He also disclosed that 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, is also working to ensure that private importers who have approvals to import get foreign exchange cover to bring in the cargoes on time.
Rabiu revealed that the country was spending about $1.8 billion per quarter to import fuel.
He said: “As we speak today, a cargo of products of about 49 million liters will cost us about 13 to 14 million dollars and we need about 45 to 50 million liters to satisfy the country fully depending on the time.
“So, if you assume that about 16 million dollars per day, it can also go up to 20 million dollars depending on the price. It means you need 20 million dollars multiplied by 90 days for a quarter. That is $1.8 billion.
“So, this amount is required to import the country’s fuel requirement for one quarter. Every month, we need $600 million to import fuel. So, we need $1.8 billion to import the country’s requirement for one quarter.” he stated.