In spite of the intervention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to flood the market with imported petrol, the ex-depot price of the product is still higher than the government’s approved N123.28 –N133.28 per litre ex-depot price band, THISDAY has learnt.
THISDAY gathered that following the hike in the ex-depot price with some depot owners selling at N142 per litre, PPMC flooded the private depots with petrol.
Apart from the six marketers –Oando, Mobil, Total, Forte Oil, Conoil and MRS – that receive constant supply of petrol from the NNPC, only few depot owners had petrol early last week.
These depots include: Aiteo, D-Jones, Gulf Treasure, Honeywell, Integrated Oil and Gas, Obat, and Rahamaniyya.
Investigation, however, revealed that the product in some of these depots belonged to third parties under through-put arrangement.
The non-availability of petrol in most depots had led to price hike with some depot owners selling petrol for N142 per litre, which was far above the government’s approved ex-depot price.
But following the intervention of the NNPC, more depots had petrol at the weekend, according to investigation.
THISDAY’s market survey showed that petrol was available in AA Rano, Aiteo, D-Jones, Eterna Oil, Folawiyo, Gulf Treasure, Heyden, Integrated Oil, MRS, NIPCO, and Rahamaniyya at the weekend.
The availability of petrol in many depots, it was learnt, has led to a drop in the ex-depot price but the prices in most depots are still above the official price.
THISDAY gathered that the prices in most of the depots range from N136, 138, 138.50, 139 and N139.50 unlike early last week when some depots sold at N141 – N142 per litre.
A marketer, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, attributed the availability of petrol in more depots to the intervention of PPMC.
“PPMC brought more vessels for many depots to take product. That is why supply is relatively better than last week. But even when NNPC flood the high sea with imported vessels, the challenge is how those vessels will discharge product. NNPC has only two jetties where their vessels can discharge product. So, only two vessels can discharge at a time. When one vessel is discharging, up to seven marketers will be waiting to take product from the vessel. By the time the sixth and seventh marketer are loading product from the vessel, the first marketer that loaded product must have exhausted the product in its depot. That is why the price cannot come down,” the marketer explained.
The marketers had after a two-day consultative forum of the downstream petroleum sector, which was recently convened by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, restated their commitment to the N145 pump price.
But the high cost of product at the depots is making it difficult for the marketers to break even at N145 pump price.