Lagos – The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to find lasting solution to the delay in loading petroleum products at Apapa depot.
Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the NUPENG South-West Chairman, gave the advice in an interview at the ongoing National Safety Training Programme in Lagos.
He said that the advice became necessary to safe the nation from ‘’imminent fuel scarcity in the country.’’
The training was organised by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers’ (PTD) branch of NUPENG for tanker drivers.
Korodo said that presently, over 300 petroleum tankers were waiting to load at Apapa depot.
He further said that another possible cause of scarcity was that most of the depots in Apapa were loading diesel because it was lucrative now.
The NUPENG South-West Chairman, said that out of over 50 depots in Apapa, less than nine were loading petroleum.
“Nigerians may experience another fuel scarcity if the present situation is not handled well by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“Presently, forex is not coming to the oil marketers again for importing, the system 2B pipelines used to send products to Mosinmi, Ejigbo, Ibadan, Ilorin and Ore depots has also not functioned for the past eight months.
“This means there has been no loading at NNPC depots.
“NNPC has arrangements with some private tank farm owners in Apapa to get the supply and distribute to tanker drivers.
“Presently, if the loading at the private depots does not increase from now till next month, we may face another fuel scarcity,’’ he said.
Korodo said the delay in getting the product to different locations nationwide could lead to product scarcity, if the NNPC did not resolve the loading problem on time.
He said that the oil marketers were not getting foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for importing the product.
“Out of over 50 depots in Apapa, less than nine are loading petroleum, that’s why we see the queue of tankers from Coconut Road to Mile Two.
“The queue in Marine Bridge Road, Apapa has extended to Ijora Causeway Bridge now, causing traffic for vehicles going to Wharf.’’
He appealed to NNPC to pump the products to all its depots through system 2B pipelines from Atlas Cove to enable petroleum tankers load their products at NNPC depots near to their destinations.
“Now that NNPC has tested all its pipeline systems and discovered that all the pipelines are good, the tanker drivers await the pumping of products through them.
“We heard that NNPC said it had resumed pumping of products in its depots, but we don’t have a drop here.
“At least, the queue of tankers would have moved to Mosinmi, Ejigbo, Ibadan and Ore depots, if they have started.
“Anyway, the commencement and loading of products at NNPC depots will sustain and reduce the burden of travelling to Lagos and queuing for many days to load at private depots.’’
On Jan.14, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Group General Manager, NNPC Group Public Affairs Division, said the NNPC had resumed loading of petroleum products in all its depots nationwide.
Ughamadu, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said resumption of activities at the depots across the country followed the suspension of strike by NUPENG.
The general manager further said that the current petroleum products stocked for supply by the corporation would be sufficient for over 37 days.