The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has resumed loading of petrol at Ejigbo Depot, which was halted due to the recent pipeline fire in Ije-Ododo community in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, THISDAY has learnt.
The resumption of operation at the depot is expected to ease pressure on the private depots in Apapa, which have been under pressure from tankers that were supposed to load products at Ejigbo Depot.
THISDAY’s investigation however revealed that though the NNPC sells at government approved ex-depot price of N87.66 per litre to marketers that have bulk purchase agreement with the corporation, these marketers sell at exorbitant price to third parties right inside the depot.
It was learnt that these marketers that buy from the NNPC, display fully loaded trucks on what is popularly referred to as the ‘tarmac’ inside Ejigbo depot at very high ex-depot price.
The ‘tarmac price’ according to industry sources was N102 per litre at the weekend, while other private depots in Apapa were selling between N97 and N98, potentially signaling no end in sight for the current fuel crisis.
THISDAY also gathered that marketers that buy in bulk from NIPCO Plc at ex-depot price of N94.50, were selling at the gate of the company at N98 per litre during the weekend.
NIPCO Plc sells at the lowest ex-depot price of N94.50 per litre among all the privately-owned depots but this is still far above the government-approved ex-depot price of N87.66 per litre, which is honoured by only the NNPC.
Some of the small marketers told THISDAY that they would prefer to buy at the gate of NIPCO for N98 per litre and lift the products immediately, instead of paying N94.50 and waiting for over one week before they could load the products.
“NIPCO sells at N94.50 per litre but you have to wait for over one week for them to programme you to load. It is better to buy at N97 or N98 and carry your products immediately than to pay and wait for over one week because of the cost of funds,” said one of the marketers.
However, the hike in ex-depot price has made it difficult for petrol to be sold at the official pump price of N97 per litre at the filling stations.
THISDAY’s investigation showed that except the major marketers – Conoil, MRS, Total, Oando, Mobil and Forte Oil, which buy in bulk from the NNPC at the government approved ex-depot price, most of the independent marketers sell at between N100 and N120 per litre at the pumps.