An end may not be in sight for the traffic gridlock caused by petrol tankers in Apapa as the plan by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to reopen Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin Depots during the weekend was shelved due to widespread concern over the integrity of the pipeline network linking the depots, THISDAY has learnt.
NNPC last week reopened the Atlas Cove Depot in Lagos, after the repair of the damaged pipeline at Arepo area of Ogun State.
The Atlas Cove Depot pumps petroleum products through NNPC’s pipeline network to Ejigbo in Lagos; Mosimi in Ogun State; as well as Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin Depots.
With last week’s reopening of the Atlas Cove, the corporation pumped fuel to Ejigbo Satellite Depot and Mosimi Depot, with plan to pump to Ore, Ibadan and Ilorin depots at the weekend.
THISDAY however gathered that the NNPC was yet to pump fuel to the three depots following concern that the pipelines may have been perforated by vandals.
A source close to the depots told THISDAY at the weekend that the three depots would not resume operations until integrity tests were carried out on the pipelines.
“We pumped PMS from the Atlas Cove to Mosimi and Ejigbo on Tuesday with plan to pump to the other depots in System 2B during the weekend. However, the plan could not work because of issues relating to the integrity of the pipelines. We have to carry out integrity tests and this is where we are now,” he said.
THISDAY gathered that with this development, tankers from most parts of the south-west and some parts of the north that should have loaded NNPC products from Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin were still coming into Apapa to lift products from the private depots that store products for the corporation.
It was learnt during the weekend that two vessels, MT Norte and MT Friendship II, were discharging NNPC products at the Petroleum Wharf Apapa (PWA) and the Bulk Oil Plant (BOP), respectively.
MT Norte was discharging to Conoil, being the last marketer to load products from the vessel; while AITEO Energy was receiving products from MT Friendship II.
The two vessels were imported by the NNPC as part of the efforts to bridge the supply gap in the industry.
NIPCO Plc also brought in MT Androussa that berthed at the North Oil Jetty (NOJ).
The Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC had in August shut down System 2B Network, which pumps imported products from the Atlas Cove Depot to other depots in the south-west.
The shutdown of System 2B followed a pipeline fire and explosion in Arepo, which was caused by vandals who attempted to siphon petroleum products from the network.