The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday, 12th April announced that one the Port Harcourt Refinery, which was shut down some months back, has last week resumed operations with a daily production of five million litres of petrol, adding that other refineries located in Kaduna are expected to also begin operations next week.
The corporation said;
“Port Harcourt has been refining for quite a while now, from last week, between three and five million litres. We expect Kaduna refinary to begin any time soon and we also have vessels discharging fuel and so, all these combined measures will bring down the situation”
Garuba Deen Muhammad, NNPC General Manager, Public Affairs and Executive Director Supply and Distribution, Nigerian Petroleum Marketing Company (NPMC), Justine Ezeala, made this known while speaking with newsmen after the monitoring exercise of petrol distribution and sales at filing stations within and around Abuja also stating that the NNPC would take advantage of the spring switch in refining activities of European petroleum refiners to pile up petrol into strategic reserves for Nigeria.
Mr. Muhammad claimed that the corporation had intelligence report that the shortage of petrol in Abuja was being made more complex by taxi drivers who would purchase the product many times having abandoned their taxi businesses for black market sale of petrol. According to him:
“When you have this kind of situation, people will naturally get agitated but people are getting calm now because they know the
supply gap has now been bridged, and it is a question of distribution now. They are all patient and that was what happened in Lagos. The situation has virtually normalised in Lagos because the motorists cooperated.
“Still, there are some hitches here and there but improvement is what we are counting on and it is what we should be expecting.
“People always take advantage of situations and now we hear taxi drivers now take advantage of the situation and find it more profitable to join queues and round trip to sell to black market operators than doing their business. We will need to devise means of stopping people from diverting and round tripping.”
Justine Ezeala said it was true that the Port Harcourt refinery has come alive again, and further explained that the corporation had increased the number of fuel trucks that are daily released to Abuja. He revealed that the nation’s capital and its environs got up to 204 trucks of petrol every day and as a result should not experience scarcity of petrol in its filling stations any more. He went ahead to throw more light on the intention of NNPC to take advantage of the shift by European refiners to petrol refining following the spring period saying:
“What happens is that during the winter period, European refiners shift their production to meet demands for heating oil in their countries and it becomes expensive to source for petrol and that was what we saw in March, but now that the spring has turned around, we are seeing them turn again to refining petrol and we will take advantage of that to stockpile our reserve because it is cheaper.”
With Port Harcourt Refinery back on stream, we hope to witness an end to fuel scarcity in the nation soon!