NNPC Blames Curfew for Long Fuel Queues in Abuja

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Says no dealings with intermediaries in crude oil lifting

By Emmanuel Addeh

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has blamed the return of fuel queues in Abuja on the curfew imposed in some states, which disrupted the distribution of petroleum products, and cautioned against panic buying.

NNPC also yesterday raised the alarm over the invasion of its bidding processes for crude oil traders by fraudsters, saying that it does not deal with intermediaries in the selection of contractors.

Long fuel queues yesterday returned to the streets of Abuja, causing serious intractable gridlock in parts of the country’s federal capital as many filling stations were either not dispensing or dealing with large crowds.

A number of the fuel stations around the Central Business District (CBD), Abuja’s commercial heartbeat, including Conoil and Total on Herbert Macaulay Way as well as AA Rano Oil, Mobil, Dan Oil Plc , NNPC Petrol Station, Rain oil, among others along Gwarimpa, Kubwa expressway, were also observed to be dealing with massive queues.

The story was not different in the outskirts of the city , which were the most hit as black market fuel racketeers sold the product for between N200 and N250 per litre.

But the NNPC has cautioned against panic buying, saying that that the country has enough volume of petroleum in the depots in the country to satisfy the needs of Nigerians in the near future.

Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru, attributed the queues to the curfew imposed in some states over the recent EndSARS protests, which disrupted the movement of products.

The NNPC spokesman noted that the disruptions and curtailment of free flow of vehicular movement occasioned by the protests, the attendant curfews, restrictions and vandalism affected the smooth supply of petroleum.

Obateru assured that the country currently has over two billion litres of the product in stock to last about two months, stressing that the situation will be brought under control in a few days.

“The disruptions or curtailment of free flow of vehicular movement occasioned by the EndSARS protests and the attendant curfews and restrictions and vandalism, particularly in Lagos, must have affected petroleum products supply.

“With the easing of the curfews and restriction of movement by various state governors, normalcy is expected to return to the petroleum products supply chain in the next couple of days.

“There is no need for panic-buying. Rest assured that the NNPC has over 2 billion litres of premium motor spirit (petrol) in stock to guarantee steady supply and at least 60 -day-product supply sufficiency to the entire country,” Obateru said in a note to THISDAY.

Meanwhile, the NNPC yesterday cried out over the invasion of its bidding processes for crude oil traders by fraudsters, saying that it does not deal with intermediaries in the selection of contractors.

Speaking during a virtual summit tagged the “Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020”, NNPC’s Group General Manager, Crude Oil Division, Mr. Billy Okoye, noted that the corporation had recently been inundated with fake documents by persons, who claim to be dealing with middlemen.

At least 339 crude oil trading companies applied for the sale and purchase of Nigerian crude oil grades contracts spanning 2020 to 2021 by the close of the bidding over a week ago.

The NNPC further noted that once the successful bidders are approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, no additional trader will be allowed to come into the fold during the lifetime of the contract.

Okoye warned that anyone who enters into any agreement with any middleman would be doing so at his own risk, explaining that any such unusual situations must be reported promptly.

He said: “All the processes (for the bids) are ongoing as we speak. Companies have entered their bids and we are doing the evaluation after which the selected companies will be approved by the president and once that is done, no other company will be included until the time of the contract expires.

“It’s usually an annual contract and no addition, no subtraction within that period. So, please note that the NNPC does not have intermediaries or agents on crude oil and gas sales. We deal directly with only the off-takers that have successfully taken part in the bid exercise.

“We have been inundated with requests to confirm documents for allocation of crude oil and natural gas liquids. Almost all the documents presented to the NNPC for confirmation are not genuine. Almost all of them are not issued by the NNPC.

“People are therefore advised not to enter into any crude oil or gas sales contract with anybody on behalf of the NNPC. If you are in doubt, contact the NNPC crude oil marketing division.”