Scarcity of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, also known as cooking gas is worsening in the South Eastern and South South regions of Nigeria, resulting to about 50 per cent increase in the price.
The product, which was sold for N3,000 (12.5kv cylinder) is currently going for between N4,000 and N4,500 in the affected regions.
The scarcity of the product Sweetcrude gathered can be attributed to the port congestion in Apapa, Lagos, which is causing delays in the discharge of products at the jetties.
A source who spoke in confidence said priority is being given to vessels carrying Premium Motor Spirit, PMS also known as petrol, and Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK because of their high demand.
Recall that the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA had earlier stated that the expected quantity of PMS in the country will arrive in nine tanker vessels, in addition to about 223,985MT of the product awaiting berth since July 11, 2013.
The vessels according to NPA will berth at the Atlas Cove Jetty (ACJ), Bulk Oil Plant (BOP), Single Bouy Mooring (SBM) and the Petroleum Wharf Apapa (PWA) jetties. The vessels are among the 84 ships expected to hit Apapa Port, Tin Can Island Port, PTML and Lagos jetties in the month of August, in which 41 ships are laden with containers and general cargoes.
Commenting on the issue, the National President, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers Association of Nigeria, LPGARAN, Mr. Michael Chika, admitted that supply of the product is stabilising in Lagos, and other Western states, but taking a slower pace in the Eastern and Southern states.
Chika explained that the development is as a result of the recent face-off between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), which created a huge vacuum in the supply chain.
He noted that due to the supply shortfall, preference is given to Lagos which is the biggest market for LPG, while little quantities are sent to the Eastern and Southern parts of the country.
“At the end of the NIMASA/NLNG face, there was scarcity of LPG in the market and that created a huge vacuum that required consistent supply of the product.
“Lagos consume more of the product and when the vessels are discharged at the port, large amount of the product are distributed here and other states in the west.
“As a result of port congestion, circulating the product has been very difficult. The LPG market is relatively stable since the face between NIMASA and NLNG ended but the price of the product has not gone down to what it was before the crisis.
“As soon as the vessels discharge their content, we are expecting that supply will improve very soon. Presently there are no scarcities of LPG,” Chika said.