Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Motorists would soon heave a sigh of relief as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has assured that the fuel scarcity across the country would soon be a thing of the past.
Delta State Coordinator of NMDPRA, Victor Ohwodiasa, gave the assurance over the weekend, when he led a team of the regulatory authority on an unscheduled inspection visit to some petroleum depots at Ifiekporo in Warri South Local Government area of Delta State.
He disclosed that vessels laden with petrol were already arriving in the state and assured residents that the regulatory authority would ensure the vessels discharge products as quickly as possible.
“We will ensure that the depots receiving these products lift them out to the end users. By the time we have all the depots wet with petrol and they are lifting regularly, the looming scarcity we are experiencing will disappear,” he said.
The State Coordinator said the essence of the visit was to ensure depots with products dispensed to licenced retail outlets, eliminate middle men and also avoid diversion.
“Once we get our daily manifest, we send our men out to make sure those trucks gets to their actual locations. There might be one or two infractions, we have apprehended about two persons for product diversion and they were made to face the full wrath of the law.
“As a regulatory authority saddled with the responsibility of regulating the Midstream and Downstream of the Oil and Gas sector in Nigeria, we will continue to do what we need to do to ensure that the products are available and adequately and fairly distributed within Delta and neighboring states,” he said.
Ohwodiasa said the NMDPRA has been carrying out intense routine surveillance assuring that it would sustain the tempo to ensure that the right things were done in the midstream and downstream sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry.
He, however, urged people to stop panic-buying, noting that the federal government was doing everything possible to ensure availability of petroleum products in the country particularly in the yuletide season and beyond.
Ohwodiasa pledged that NMDPRA would ensure that the products get to the consumers at the right price, quality and quantity.
Among the depots visited were: Matrix Energy Group, Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited and AYM Shafa Limited.
Terminal Manager, Matrix Energy, Mr. Francis Ibe said the PMS stock level was14 million litres as of Thursday, adding that as at evening, it had trucked out over four million litres.
“With what I am pushing out, I know it will not be enough. Before now, on weekly basis, we were receiving 40 million litres of PMS but at the moment, we barely received 40 million in two weeks. So you can see the difference.
“Forty million litres in one week as against receiving one vessels in two weeks cannot solve the problem. There is a serious supply gap,” Ibe said.
Also, the Depot Manager, Pinnacle Oil and Gas, Warri depot, Mr. Luke Nnajieze said the current stock level of the company in Warri as at Thursday morning was 3.1 million litres of petrol while Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO) was 2.9 million litres.
“At the moment, we are out of stock of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK). On daily bases, we trucked 2.5 million litres to 3 million litres of PMS,” he said.
Nnajieze identified heavy vehicular gridlock as a major challenge confronting their business in the area and called on the government to assist in expanding or fixing the bad access road.
He also called for the dredging of the Escravos bar to allow for bigger vessels to navigate and bring in petroleum products.