The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] has halted the pumping of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to its depots in a bid to avoid losses that arise from the incessant rupturing of pipelines that convey products to the various facilities.
It was learnt that the corporation had also devised new means of selling the product, as it now preferred to sell in bulk to financially buoyant oil marketers, rather than pumping to the depots from where independent dealers could get their petrol supply.
Oil marketers told our correspondent that the destruction of facilities by militants was impacting negatively on the sector, adding that this might lead to petrol scarcity in selected locations across the country.
An executive member of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Dibu Aderigbigbe, said filling stations belonging to IPMAN members were being starved of the product as a result of the non-availability of petrol at the NNPC depots.
He said, “We are not being supplied products. There is no product in any NNPC depot for they are afraid of pumping petrol because of issues of vandalism. They don’t want to waste the product, because they know they have gone commercial and are aware that they can’t report any loss to the government.”
He denied claims that IPMAN members could not pay outstanding funds that were needed before the PMS could be supplied by the corporation.
Aderigbigbe said, “Some of our people have paid the difference, but there are no products in the depots. For instance, the Ibadan and Mosimi depots are empty, despite the fact that marketers have paid the difference for products in those depots.
“The excuse NNPC gave is that they don’t have products. But we know that they store their products in marine tanks and now sell to people who are ready to buy in bulk.”
A major oil marketer told our correspondent that the non-supply of petrol to independent dealers by the NNPC might lead to the scarcity of the product in selected locations.
“Many independent marketers are being denied product by the NNPC and this is not healthy in that it may cause fuel scarcity in selected locations. We know that the corporation has stopped pumping to some depots and the reason for this is understandable, but their refusal to supply to other marketers is not in the interest of consumers,” the major marketer told our correspondent on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, the NNPC did not deny or confirm the claims by the marketers.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Garba-Deen Mohammed, neither confirmed nor denied that the NNPC had stopped pumping petrol to the depots.
In a brief text message after several attempts by our correspondent to get the oil firm’s position on the matter, he said, “I am in a meeting.”