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Fuel scarcity: Hold NNPC, marketers responsible – Senate

•Buhari, Kachikwu are to be blamed – Urhoghide
•We distributed 1.3bn litres of products in one month – NNPC
•President engages NNPC, DPR, MOMAN, IPMAN, DAPPMA, others today

BY Udeme Akpan, Godfrey Bivbere, Mike Eboh, Gabriel Enogholase & Prince Okafor

AS President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to meet stakeholders today in Aso Rock, to find lasting solution to the nation’s prolonged fuel crisis, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream has blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and marketers for the development.

Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Marafa, stated this, yesterday,  in Gusau, Zamfara State, during an oversight assignment in the state.

Marafa, who was accompanied by a member of the committee, Abdullahi Danbaba, said the inspection was part of the assignment given to the committee by Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

“I have directed all members of this committee to go back to their constituencies to investigate the problem at the grassroots so that we take appropriate measures to address the scarcity.

“We visited NNPC zonal depot in Gusau to find out the quantity of fuel supplied to the depot and we noticed short supply of the commodity. We are going to present our findings to the Senate. It is very disturbing to see the suffering faced by people due to fuel scarcity in the country.

“We questioned the NNPC over this issue because the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said they had doubled the quantity of daily supplies of the product, but it is not available to the public.

“Another unfortunate thing is the attitude of our filling stations’ owners, who sell this commodity to the public. They are involved in one or two malpractices. In fact, out of the filling stations we visited, only two have complied with the government directives in this regard.”

Marafa commended the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, field officers in the state for ensuring compliance at the filling stations.

The senator urged DPR to sanction filling stations involved in hoarding and selling above approved government price of N145 per litre.

Senator blames Buhari, Kachikwu

Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, has called on Nigerians to hold the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Dr Ibe Kachikwu responsible for the fuel scarcity in the  country, saying the buck stops at their tables as the  Minister and Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Affairs.

Urhoghide, who spoke with Vanguard, in Benin City, Edo State, while responding to the current fuel scarcity in the country, also blamed those in authority for their lack of knowledge of the quantity of crude oil that is produced daily, the quantity that is refined daily by country’s refineries, what comes into the country by way of importation and what is consumed by Nigerians on daily basis.

He said: “Let me ask you, all these people working in NNPC, don’t they report to the President? The Minister of Petroleum is the President and the Minister of State is another person. So, for the ministry, they have two ministers. So, if things are not working in the Ministry, hold the President and the Minister of State responsible.

“Are we afraid to say this? It depends on Nigerians, if they are not doing well, vote them out, we should continue to do this until we get to near perfection.

“Fuel scarcity has become perennial in our country, it is also an annual ritual in our lives. So, we are living with it. Why will I become comfortable when Nigerians are suffering? NNPC and IPMAN are two birds that flock together; how do you want me to know who is saying the truth?

“There was a problem between the Minister of State for Petroleum Affairs and the GMD of NNPC sometimes ago and they made claims and counter-claims and they went to the Villa and were settled. Today, do you know what transpired between them?

“So, if IPMAN is claiming that they have paid money to the NNPC and their tanks are empty and the NNPC is saying that they are owing them and you are hearing this back and front accusations, which one do you want me to believe?  The story tells me that the system is not working.

“Leadership is still as faulty as it has always been in this country, so nobody should say that because of Mr A or Mr B, this country is in a better shape. Did the country not experience fuel scarcity during Obasanjo’s time? Did the country not experience fuel scarcity in former President Umaru Yar’ Adua’s time? But it is on record that it was only Yar’ Adua, who for the period he was the President, did not increase the price of fuel; rather, there was a decrease in fuel pump price.

“But ever since, we had the problem of fuel scarcity in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s time and even now. So, who is going to be blamed, who but the system? So, NNPC that existed in Obasanjo’s time is still the same NNPC that exists now.

“We have expected that two years into Buhari’s presidency, the story would have changed, but it is the same narrative. Are Nigerians not suffering?”

We sold 1.3bn litres in October  —NNPC

However, the NNPC through its Downstream subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, sold and distributed a total of 1.3 billion litres of white products (petrol, kerosene and diesel) across the country in October, 2017.

Details of the transactions contained in the October 2017 edition of the Monthly NNPC Operations and Financial Report also indicated that 252.83 billion cubic feet of gas was supplied in the country within the period.

A breakdown of the volume of white products injected into the system showed that the 1.3 billion litres of products sold and distributed by PPMC within the period was slightly higher than the 1.2 billion litres for September 2017.

This comprised of 1.1 billion litres of petrol, 95.72 million litres of kerosene and 137.34 million litres of Diesel.

Total sale of white products for the period October 2016 to October 2017 stood at 16.18 billion litres; petrol amounted to 14.11 billion litres and accounts for 87.22 per cent.

Total special products for October 2017 was 114.49 million litres, comprising of 63.82 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) and other special products totalling 50.67 million litres.

The report also indicated that within the same period, 1.5 billion litres of petrol was supplied into the country through the Direct-Sale-Direct-Purchase (DSDP) arrangement as against the 886.46 million litres supplied in September 2017.

It also noted that the petroleum products (petrol and kerosene only) production by the domestic refineries in October 2017 amounted to 204.31 million litres compared to 87.47 million litres in September 2017.

In terms of gas supply and production, the report which is the 27th in the series noted that out of the 252.83 BCF of gas supplied in October 2017, a total of 145.03 BCF of gas was commercialised, comprising of 35.41 BCF and 109.62 BCF for the domestic and export market respectively.

This translates to an average daily supply of 1,142 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd) to the domestic market and 3,536  mmscfd of gas supplied to the export market.

About 3,136.19 mmscfd or 88.69 per cent of the export gas was sent to Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, NLNG, Bonny for October 2017 compared with the period (October 2016 to October 2017) average of 3,066.29 mmscfd or 91.90 per cent of the export gas.

Also, out of the 1,142 mmscfd of gas supplied to the domestic market in October 2017, about 716.28 mmscfd of gas, representing 62.71 per cent was used for Gas-Fired power plants, while the balance of 425.87 mmscfd or 37.29 per cent was supplied to other industries.

This implies that 57.36 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialized, while the balance of 42.64 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.

Gas flare rate was 9.59 per cent within the period i.e. 781.77 mmscfd compared with average Gas flare rate of 10.03 per cent i.e. 752.45 mmscfd for the period October 2016 to October 2017.

Situation report

Investigations by Vanguard showed that four vessels were discharging in Lagos, yesterday.

Despite the supply made by vessels, including M.V Sanmar Sonbird, Capt. Gregory, M.V Maestro and Hafinia, the fuel scarcity continues to bite in many parts of the nation.

Edo State Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Oil and Gas, Mr Joseph Ugheoke, had on Sunday, announced that 18 trucks carrying 720,993 litres of petroleum products had arrived the state to ease the lingering fuel scarcity.

Ugheoke also said the products were being discharged at the NNPC’s mega stations as well as stations of major distributors across the state.

However, Vanguard’s investigation showed that, price of the product remains high in many parts of the nation, especially in Akwa Ibom, Abia, Rivers, Delta, Edo and other states.

Our correspondents who monitored the situation in different parts of the nation disclosed that the product was sold at between N200 and N300 per litre.

However, the government is expected to adopt new measures to tackle the scarcity at the end of its meeting with stakeholders such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC, DPR, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.