By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC yesterday said it has imported about 38.7 million litres of the aviation fuel in a bid to eliminate the prevailing scarcity of the product and the severe impact on airlines and travellers in the country.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this saying the 38.7 million litres imported is expected to last for 26 days.
Some airlines were forced to hike their fares last week, due to the scarcity of Aviation Turbine Kerosene, ATK, also known as aviation fuel, while others had to cancel a number of their scheduled flights, leaving most passengers stranded.
In a statement by the NNPC in Abuja, Baru also disclosed that the NNPC has over 40-day sufficiency for Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, and adequate volumes of Automotive Gasoline Oil, AGO and Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, to satisfy national demand throughout the yuletide period and beyond.
Baru explained that the intervention was aimed at ensuring a hitch-free air travel across the country during and after the yuletide period.
According to Baru, the giant step was taken to forestall shortage of the product, a situation that had recently led to reported cases of flight delays and cancellations across the nation’s airports.
He further stated that in the build-up to the yuletide period, the NNPC had exceeded the demand of marketers.
He said, “On December 14, 2016, the Corporation completed the discharge of 8,800 metric tonnes (MT) which represented about 10.6 million litres to major terminals in the country.
“In addition, as at December 19, 2016, 23,500MT which represented about 28.2 million litres was being discharged to the major oil terminals.
“In order to sustain the tempo, the Corporation had also secured the supply of additional 30,000MT vessel of ATK which represented about 36 million litres expected to berth Nigerian shores before the end of the year.”
Baru, therefore, assured Nigerians that the NNPC would sustain the drive towards ensuring availability of petroleum products at all times.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in its review of petroleum information in 2015, released weekend, disclosed that 440,689.20 metric tonnes of Aviation Turbine Kerosene, ATK, also known as aviation fuel, an equivalent of 542.929 million litres was imported in the year under review.
According to the DPR, independent oil marketers imported 251,212.03 metric tonnes of ATK in the period under review, representing 57 per cent of total ATK import; major marketers recorded 189,477.17 metric tonnes, accounting for 42.99 per cent of total ATK imports, while the PPMC did not record any ATK import in the period under review.
A couple of days ago, the NNPC had stated that the Port Harcourt Refineries would soon commence the production of aviation fuel.
The NNPC disclosed that the refinery has met all the international parameters for the production of aviation fuel and has successfully blended the commodity and was only waiting for appropriate conditions to commence full scale production of the product in response to demand of the aviation sector.
Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest airline had a few days ago, alerted passengers of worsening aviation fuel supply leading to flights delays and some cancellations at airports across the country.
The aviation fuel scarcity which has been on for several days, had become more intense with the inability of approved major fuel marketers to meet the demands of airline especially at this time when maximum number of passengers are travelling for the Yuletide.
Arik Air had been operating over 100 daily flights and therefore experienced a larger impact of this scarcity compared to other airlines. The airline claims it requires a daily supply of approximately 500,000 litres for its operations but had been getting between 180,000 and 200,000 over the past 10 days which has severely impacted the scheduled flight operations.