Chika Amanze-Nwachuku and Ejiofor Alike
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has again cut to 32, the number of oil-marketing and trading companies (OM&Ts) that would be involved in the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol into the country, THISDAY investigations have shown.
THISDAY learnt that only 32 companies were issued permits to import petrol in the first quarter of this year, down from 38 that participated in the fuel importation scheme in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The participating companies, according to a document exclusively obtained by THISDAY, are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aiteo Energy, Ascon Oil, Avidor Oil and Gas, A-Z Petroleum, Bovas, Conoil Plc, Dee Jones Petroleum and Gas, Dozzy Oil and Gas, Folawiyo Energy, Fresh Synergy Ltd and Forte Oil Plc.
Others are: First Deepwater Discovery Ltd, Gulf Treasure Ltd, Heyden Petroleum, Ibafon Oil Ltd, Integrated Oil and Gas Industries, IPMAN Refining and Marketing Ltd, Mobil Oil Plc, MRS Oil & Gas Ltd, MRS Oil Nig. Plc, NIPCO Plc, Northwest Petroleum & Gas Ltd, Oando Plc, Obat Petroleum Ltd, RainOil Ltd, Rahamaniyya Oil Gas and Sahara Energy Ltd.
The list also includes Shorelink Oil Ltd, Swift Oil Ltd, Techno Oil Ltd and Total Nigeria Plc.
The document also showed that aside the state oil company (NNPC) that got the highest allocation, Oando topped the major marketers’ list with 150,000 metric tonnes (mts) allocated to it. Mobil, MRS Oil Nig, MRS Oil & Gas and Forte Oil were allocated 60,000mts each.
Further checks by THISDAY revealed that Nipco and Folawiyo topped other independent marketers’ with each firm allocated 120,000mts. Techno Oil and Total got 90,000mts each, while Shorelink and RainOil got approvals for 80,000mts and 75,000mts respectively.
Also, Rahamaniyya and Sahara got 60,000mts each, while Ascon, Bovas, Swift Oil and Deejones each got approvals for 45,000mts. Dozzy Oil and Gulf Treasure were given allotments of 30,000mts each, while Fresh Synergy got 15,000mts.
Although he refused to comment on the volumes allocated to each of the oil marketers, the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley, when contacted, confirmed that the number of marketers for the first quarter import regime had been cut from 38 to 32.
He explained that the number was reduced to ensure that marketers which might have been indicted or under investigation for subsidy fraud were not given permits to import petrol.
He said the track record established by marketers and a demonstrable capacity to finance the imports were other factors that determined the selection of marketers that made the list.
Since the last quarter of 2011 when the number of marketers importing petrol peaked at 128, PPPRA has worked assiduously at bringing down the number.
By the second quarter of 2012, Stanley said the number of marketers was slashed to 42, the number was further pruned to 39 in the third quarter, and reduced to 38 by the fourth quarter of last year.
He had recently informed THISDAY that PPPRA’s target was to prune the number of petrol importers to 20, in order to stem abuses in the subsidy scheme.
The companies that were denied allocation for the first quarter of this year, investigations revealed, included Masters Energy, Matrix Energy, Spog Petrochemical and Capital Oil and Gas Industries, whose facilities had been shut down over its indebtedness to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
THISDAY had reported that some of the companies indicted for various infractions by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Subsidy Payments headed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, were among the 38 firms issued import permits for the fourth quarter of 2012.
A presidency source had explained that some of the indicted marketers had been included in the fourth quarter import list because they had been performing well and could not have been denied because of mere allegations that had not been proven.
The source also revealed that of the 39 OM&Ts that were granted permits to import petrol in the third quarter of 2012, 20 companies imported less than 10 per cent of the volumes allocated to them.