. Petrol now sells for N158 per litre at depots

Ejiofor Alike

Obviously worried that the petrol it imports and allocates to marketers does not get to retail outlets and motorists at official price, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has stopped allocating product to marketers and resorted to throughput arrangement with selected marketing firms to have affective control of supply and distribution, THISDAY has learnt.

But despite the assurance by the corporation that it has sufficient petrol to serve the country, the inadequate supply of the product has forced the price to hit N158 per litre at the depots, against the official N133.28.
Investigation revealed that contrary to the usual practice of allocating products to depot owners to sell to trucks, the NNPC has engaged more private depots on throughput arrangement to have direct control of sale and distribution of its imported products.

THISDAY gathered that the idea to rent more private depots and sell directly to truck owners followed a breakdown of trust between the NNPC and the depot owners.
Marketers who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend stated that the corporation was worried that despite the massive importation of petrol which was allocated to the depot owners to sell, the impact was not felt in filling stations as queues have failed to disappear completely.

“NNPC don’t trust the marketers any longer because it felt that it has been pushing enough products to the marketers but the impact is not felt. So, over 80 per cent of imported product is now on throughput. NNPC has engaged more private depots on throughput so that it can have direct control of monitoring the trucks that load product. It now gives allocation to only the major marketers but the major marketers don’t sell to others except their filling stations. The product in other depots belongs to NNPC and they sell direct to trucks,” one of the marketers explained.

A market survey conducted at the weekend showed that apart from the major marketers that have allocation from NNPC, most of the nine depots that had stock of petrol were engaged by the NNPC on throughput.
The depots selling petrol at the weekend, include NIPCO Plc, which is given major marketer’s treatment by the NNPC; Folawiyo, Aiteo, MRS, Obat, Rahamaniya, Stallonire, Chidet and Wosbab.

But despite the assurance by the NNPC that it has sufficient petrol to serve the country, THISDAY gathered that marketers that bought tickets directly from the NNPC in these depots were re-selling to others at ex-depot price of between N153 and N158 per litre, against the official price of N133.28 per litre.
With these high ex-depot prices, most retail outlets that are not controlled by the major marketers sell above N145 per litre.

THISDAY gathered that only the major marketers – Oando, MRS, Conoil, NIPCO, Mobil, Forte Oil and Total sell at N145 per litre because their depots receive direct petrol allocation from the NNPC at official ex-depot price and sell to only their filling stations.
Investigation revealed that in other private depots that have throughput with NNPC, marketers that have NNPC tickets resell to others at exorbitant prices.

Reacting to the queues noticeable in some fuel stations, especially in Abuja at the weekend, the NNPC had urged motorists to report any marketer selling above N145 per litre of petrol or hoarding the products to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).