Motorists and other petrol users may soon experience permanent relief as the ex-depot price of the product, which had hit N160 per litre, was gradually returning to normal at the weekend as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) floods the market with petrol, THISDAYâ€™s investigation has revealed.
THISDAY gathered that the availability of the product in the market was high as 18 depots had stock at the weekend, with most of them selling at N139 â€“ N136.50 per litre.
Also, all the six major oil marketers â€“ Conoil, Forte Oil, Mobil Oil, Oando, MRS and Total also had stock of petrol, which they were loading out to only their branded filling stations.
The major marketers sell at N145 per litre to their dealers at the depots and these dealers also sell at the same N145 at the filling stations.
THISDAY gathered that the major oil marketing companies pay special margins to their dealers to encourage them to sell at N145 at the pumps.
The fuel supply situation has recorded a great improvement in recent days compared to the situation few weeks ago when only six â€“ seven private depots had NNPC product, with most of them selling at N155 â€“ 160 per litre.
However, the current price range of N136.50 â€“ N139 per litre is still above the N123.28 â€“ N133.28 per litre official ex-depot price band recommended by Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on May 11, 2016 when the N145 pump price took effect.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, had promised a reward for petroleum products marketers who make life easy for Nigerians by sticking to N145 per litre approved pump price for petrol.
Apart from the major oil marketers, the other 18 depots loading petrol in Lagos at the weekend include: AA Rano, Aiteo, Bovas, Chi-Pet, D.Jones, Fatgbems, First Royal, Folawiyo, Gulf Treasure, Wosbab, NIPCO, Heyden, MRS, Mao Oil, Africa Tanker, Techno Oil and Stallonire.
Some marketers, who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend, attributed the improvement in supplies to the flooding of the market by the NNPC.
â€œThere is product everywhere now because more depots have stock, unlike before. NNPC is bringing more cargoes almost on daily basis. If you go to some filling stations, you will see some attendants on the roadside beckoning to motorists to come and buy fuel,â€ said one of the marketers.
Apparently scandalised by the petrol scarcity, which marred Christmas celebration, NNPC has increased its efforts to boost importation, having assumed the sole importer since October 2017.
THISDAY gathered that the corporation recently brought in the worldâ€™s largest petrol vessel, Suezmax vessel, a newly built Vitol-booked, 115,000-tonne Sea Icon.
The Sea Icon, which arrived late February, sailed to West Africa from the Latvian port of Ventspils.
NNPC had pledged to import two cargoes of petrol per day, each with a capacity of 50 million litres, roughly 35,000 tonnes, to â€œincrease supply and replenish strategic reservesâ€.