NNPC Unveils Strategies to End Current Fuel Scarcity in Next Few Days

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Ibe Kachikwu
  • Seeks to make Nigeria net exporter Senate c’ttee summons Kachikwu

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Ejiofor Alike in Lagos
Apparently miffed by the controversy generated by the declaration of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the current petrol shortages could last up to two months, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has unveiled strategies to end the scarcity within the next few days.

The corporation has also reassured Nigerians that it was on top of the petroleum products supply and distribution situation, and remained committed to eliminating this endemic issue once and for all within the next few days.

NNPC’s Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Garba Deen Muhammed, said in a statement last night that in the medium term, the corporation was working on sustainable strategies to permanently address the issues and challenges facing the midstream and downstream sectors.

According to him, the overarching objective is to make Nigeria a net exporter of Petroleum products as was the case in the 1970s.

“Our commitment to ramp up our local refining capacity and availability remains unwaivered with the ongoing rehabilitation works targeted at running all Refineries at a minimum 70 per cent capacity utilisation within the next eight to nine months. This is in addition to our initiative of increasing the combined capacity of the domestic refineries through co-locating smaller but cost efficient modular refineries within the existing refineries premises within a time frame of 12-24 months,” Muhammed explained.

He further stated that as a result of the challenges that major oil marketers faced in contributing their supply quota due to constraint in accessing foreign exchange and outstanding subsidy obligations, the corporation was burdened with the obligation to guarantee almost 100 per cent in the national supply.

Muhammed noted that since the domestic crude oil supply of 445,000 barrels per day could only guarantee about 50 per cent of the 45 million litres national requirement for petrol, NNPC had secured presidential approval to take additional crude oil volume to guarantee national supply of petrol.

To curb storage and logistics challenges, he said the corporation was working on a joint partnership with technically and financially capable investors to ensure that petroleum products transportation and storage facilities were efficiently operated on an open-access common-carrier user-tariff basis.

“Some of these depots will be nominated as strategic reserves while we take possession of a strategic reserve vessel in the next three months. Tangible results will be delivered within the next three – six months. Changes usually take time, effort and a lot of focus. We understand the plight of Nigerians and the impact on the overall economy. We genuinely empathize with the attendant sufferings and wish to reassure that we are focused and committed to bring an end to this situation within the next few days and we kindly call on all Nigerians to partner with us on this journey to allowing the whole process of change come into fruition,” he explained.

Muhammed further explained that the current administration inherited a huge catalog of issues and problems in the downstream sector not limited to arrears of subsidy payments to oil marketers, corruption and inefficiencies in the supply and distribution chain, incessant vandalism of pipelines, and refineries poor performance.

According to him, a combination of these issues resulted in most oil majors completely pulling out from the importation business and NNPC assuming a near 100 per cent importation obligation without the necessary logistics put in place.
He said in line with the change agenda of this administration, NNPC had initiated and made progress on various key solutions to providing a lasting end to most of the issues.

One of the issues that had been successfully addressed, according to him was the unpaid arrears arising from the subsidy regime had necessitated most oil marketers to stop all forms of involvement in petroleum products imports.
“Thankfully, with the firm support of Mr. President and the National Assembly, we greatly reduced this debt burden and since January 1, 2016 we have been able to eliminate subsidy payments by managing prices at current levels through price modulation. This has resulted to savings of over N100billion monthly for the nation,” he added.
He also added that the nationwide petroleum supply and distribution had been ramped up to all states to ensure product availability in the country, stressing that the current supply to states was in excess of the normal consumption especially in the five major consuming cities.

Muhammed also stated that monitoring had been intensified to ensure full compliance with approved prices.
According to the NNPC spokesman, violations of approved prices and hoarding of petroleum products attracted the following penalties:

“Level 1: Giving out of petroleum products free to the public. Level 2: Sealing off fuel stations found to be hoarding petroleum products and payment of a fine. Level 3: Withdrawal of Marketer’s licence,” he explained.
He said any government official found conniving/wanting would be sanctioned accordingly in line with public service guidelines and procedures.

Muhammed also encouraged the general public to report product hoarders and saboteurs of this administration’s change efforts, adding that they are wittingly fighting every bold change effort currently being put in place.
He also charged motorists and other fuel users to shun panic buying and undue return trips, stressing that this attitude emboldens marketers to hoard products.

“Supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange. Similarly, as a result of credible leadership provided by the Minster of State, Petroleum Resources/Group Managing Director, NNPC, the major international upstream oil companies have indicated their willingness to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange. We are vigorously pursuing an improved model for ‘crude oil for refined product’ exchange (the Direct Sale – Direct Purchase arrangement) which eliminates inefficiencies with an attendant cost saving for the nation of about $1 billion. This will guarantee sustainable product supply to the nation,” Muhammed explained.

Meanwhile, disturbed by the protracted fuel scarcity across the country, the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) yesterday summoned, Kachickwu, to appear before it today and explain why fuel scarcity has continued unabated.

The resolve to summon Kachikwu was the fallout of the committee’s oversight visit to major petrol stations in Abuja metropolis monday.

During the tour, the committee expressed concern over non-availability of petrol in many stations following lack of supply to Abuja from the Suleja depot of the NNPC.

According to the committee’s acting Chairman, Jibrin Barau, summoning Kachikwu had become imminent in view of the grave effects of the scarcity on the masses.

Barau disclosed that on-the-spot-assessment exercise carried out by the committee was spurred by the concern expressed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, whom he said asked the committee to intervene and ensure that the crisis was promptly nipped in the bud.

Provoked by the seeming unpromising state of the scarcity, Barau described the situation as unacceptable.
“This situation is very bad and unacceptable; hence, the need for the minister to appear before us tomorrow (today) and unveil his plan on the way out of the chaos to us.

“Even if he doesn’t have any plan yet out of the lingering problem, the Senate President and the entire members of the committee are more than ready to rub minds with him for that needed purpose,” Barau said.

Also speaking on the development, a member of the committee and Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda, emphasised the need for the federal government to promptly bail Nigerians out of their current travails.

Aduda said Nigerians were not interested in the current decision of leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) to engage in name calling over the scarcity, noting that all they care about is the availability of fuel in all parts of the country.

“The government should look for petrol and ensure that it is given to the people. The current situation is unacceptable; we are Nigerians and it will be bad for us to continue remaining in queues.

“If the APC leaders like, let them blame themselves; that is their problem but the most important thing is for us to have fuel in Nigeria. That is what we are looking for and that is what we want. We want to see all these queues disappear,” he stated.

During the tour, independent marketers put the blame at the doorstep of NNPC, pointing out that the corporation had failed to make adequate supply available to petrol stations in all parts of the country.

One of the marketers at Forte Oil, Maitama, for instance, said whereas NNPC used to supply him between five and six tankers of fuel daily, the supply has now been reduced to three tankers daily.

On the other hand, Oando, Wuse Zone Four’s Manager, Isa Friday, said for a long while, he had not received any supply from NNPC depot in Suleja.

  • Iskacountryman

    na strategy we go chop?

    • Jon West

      Implementation is strategy. Therefore, even strategy you no go see chop!! Una don enter One Chance. Sai Baba!!

      • Iskacountryman

        chai baba…

  • ogechi

    Story Story

  • vic

    LOUSY FOOLS AFTER MUCH FUSS THEY AGREE THAT THINGS CAN NOW BE DONE IN FEW DAYS RATHER THAN FEW MONTHS.

    THIS BANANA REPUBLIC OF NO PLANS AND NO ORGANISATION.

  • ndanusa

    Jonathan should let Nigerians have fuel please

    • Chijioke Oweregbulam

      Jonathan drank all the fuel before leaving Abuja for Otuoke. Just as he left nothing in the reserve for APC, don’t believe OBJ who said that GEJ left N30b in reserve. Nigerians wanted change & they have gotten what they want. No complain. Nigerians were warned but would not listen.

      • ndanusa

        Clueless jonathan. He must release fuel. We love change. We love the stagnation. We love the queues. We love darkness. Change indeed has taken place under a party AllPromisesCancelled

  • Daniel Obior

    Not again, another empty assurance by an incompetent organisation.
    Nigerians should not hold their breath. Any strategy based of our non-performing and obsolete refineries is bound to fail, as it has failed us this far. Enough talking by NNPC, get on with the work based on fresh ideas. Not this over flogged strategy of running our poorly maintained refineries, that never deliver.

  • Mr. A

    I hope it is legal for the Presidency to unilaterally allocate additional crude volume to NNPC in this instance.

    • Jon West

      It is actually immoral(and perhaps even illegal) for the President to be the Petroleum Minister and GMD of NNPC, which is the status quo. However, if Nigerians can allow that, then nothing stops him from unilaterally doing anything with crude oil volumes. The problem is really with the docility and intellectual challenge of the Nigerian person in all strata of national life.

  • ben

    Classifying NNPC as a corporation is an insult to real corporate entities. Corporations run like this dinosaur die a slow and painful death in today’s global economy

  • Toby

    While Buhari and all the APC chieftains are enjoying the change they asked for, Nigerians are gnashing their teeth for the change they voted for.

    Buhari enjoys 24 hour power supply in Aso Rock, all his presidential fleet of cars, jets and trains have fuel to power them, while the rest of Nigerians don’t.

    If only Buhari, Kachikwu, Fashola, Ameachi, Lai Mohammed or Tinubu could only experience what the real Nigerians are experiencing right now this country would be differently better.

  • chiemex

    JONATHAN IS THE ONE PREVENTING PMB FROM MAKING FUEL AVAILABLE. PLS LET SOMEONE GO AND BEG JONA

  • Mazi JO

    Stay the course, Ibe. Do not be rattled. I presume your assurances are gold standard in the store of values. Do not let the soon to be displaced thieves argue otherwise. It is shameful that Nigeria, a Titan in the crude production still experiences fuel shortages. Put a stop to it and silence the obstreperous, mindless and rampaging detractors. Put your stamp on it. The Nation will be ever grateful to you and the level headed crew. And of course the President. No politics this time. The People are sickened by these dances of ignorance.

  • Edim Asekong

    When riot breaks out, the Nigerian Police declares ” we’re on top of the situation. When boko Haram strikes, the Nigerian Army declares ” our gallant Officers are on top of the situation”. Now in the face of biting fuel scarcity the NNPC is making the same declaration. Where, we’re these guys when matters didn’t get out of Hand? Why are they always on top when things are painfully Below?