Fear of petrol scarcity loomed at the weekend as most of the six major oil-marketing companies and NIPCO Plc have exhausted their stock of the product. The shortage has led to an increase in the depot price of petrol. Investigations revealed that some depot owners have capitalized on the tight supply situation to sell at ex-depot price of between N93 and N100, as against the official price of N89 per litre.
However, sources said while the pump price of petrol would still be maintained at N97 per litre in Lagos and its environs, the marketers could capitalize on the increase in depot price to jack up the price in the hinterland where there is less supervision from regulatory agencies’ officials.
The drop in fuel supply, it was learnt, was worsened by the refusal of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to allow fuel cargo imported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to discharge its products for the marketers at Apapa Port over unresolved financial issues. Deputy Director and spokesperson of the DPR, Mrs. Belema Osibodu, however, said that the vessel was allowed to discharge after all the relevant documents requested by the agency were presented.
A spokesperson of the NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said that the vessel was prevented from discharging because it had “a financial lien.”
Sources within the six companies that constitute the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and NIPCO Plc, whose depots are located in Apapa, Lagos, said that the seven companies had a two-day stock level which was largely exhausted.