FG turns to oil firms for Forex, Seek to Curb Fuel Scarcity

As part of efforts to put a permanent end to the perennial fuel shortages in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday said it was working with oil companies operating in the upstream sector to make their foreign exchange available in support for oil marketers.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Downstream, Henry Ikem Obih, told newsmen in Abuja shortly after inspecting fuel distribution, that the Minister of State Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu was putting a lot of effort to ensure that oil marketers which have allocations are able to import.

Obih, who inspected filling stations at Central Area, Kubwa Express Way and Apo District also interacted with some motorists on the measures taken by the corporation to end the shortages.

While acknowledging that motorists were going through a lot of pains to obtain petrol, he however stated that from his inspection and measures in place, the situation was gradually improving.

“It is still work in progress. We are working extremely hard to ensure that we eliminate the queues. What we have seen today is encouraging but we are still not there. For us, we are there when you go into the service stations and within a couple of minutes you can buy fuel and drive away. That is the objective for us”, he said.

On effort to clear to the queues, he explained that “we have vessels that have come into Nigerian waters. In Lagos for instance we a lot of vessels in place. We have four import vessels, smaller shuttle vessels going through STS operations and we are breaking bulk which is basically we are distributing the cargoes that have come in across Nigeria.

“So we have some products going into Calabar, Port Harcourt, Oghara and Warri and a lot of it in Lagos. As we speak we are pumping into Ibadan so that we can load at Ibadan. That helps us ease the demand on our infrastructure because you know that the other challenge we have is the infrastructure we have to support the needs of the industry”.

Obih said the corporation was putting in place adequate measures to meet up with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) second quarter import allocation in which NNPC was given permit to import 41.73 per cent of the total allocation and 58.27 per cent to other oil marketing companies.

He said NNPC under the new Q2 import cycle include the deployment of its newly created Direct Sales-Direct Purchase initiative to fulfill its share of the allocation.