Long queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol or fuel, are beginning to resurface at filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states, and in few other locations in South-Western states.
Although according to report, the queues were not seen in Abuja and other states in the North, but it was learnt that depots in Lagos were gradually running dry of petrol.
Queues were sighted at many stations, particularly those on the Oshodi-Ojodu Berger Expressway and some sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, as vehicles that waited to purchase petrol stretched into the expressway, slowing down movement on the service lane.
North-West filling station had the longest queue, as it dispensed petrol at N568/litre. Others such as Eterna – N568/litre; NNPCL – N568/litre; TotalEnergies – N570/litre; and Mobil – N570/litre had shorter queues.
Conoil, Enyo and Oando at Berger in Lagos, had no product to dispense.
While some of TotalEnergies stations were seen dispensing, a branch of the station located on the Berger axis was locked.
A few others such as Worldoil, Fatgbems and Quest in Ogun State shut their outlets.
The Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Satellite Depot, Akin Akinrinade said the depot had not loaded products in the last three weeks.
According to him, even the NNPCL Retail depot is currently operating skeletal dispatching of products.
Long queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol or fuel, are beginning to resurface at filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states, he said.
The NNPCL Retail has 21 depots across the country, nine in the North, and 12 in the South.
Recall that in December the company abandoned the depots due to pipeline vandalism, and now relied on private depots to dispatch products.
Recently, NNPCL had been making efforts to put the pipelines in order. One of those efforts was the Satellite depots in Lagos which resumed operations last year but was again vandalised in July.
Managers of the Ejigbo Satellite Depot had raised the alarm over incessant activities of pipeline vandals on System 2B pipeline in front of Good Luck Estate at Idimu, Alimosho Local Council Development Area of Lagos.
A statement released by Akinrinade at that time, said, “IPMAN Satellite Depot are constrained with heavy heart to announce the vandalism of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited pipeline at Idimu in Alimosho LCDA of Lagos State, in front of Good Luck Estate.
“This continuous vandalism is a setback to the effort of IPMAN and NNPCL to ensure uninterrupted supply of petrol to Lagos and the entire South-West region of Nigeria.”
Some depots owners had been unable to import products due to rising foreign exchange.
Sources close to the matter said many filling stations had shut down operations as many could not afford to buy products due to high prices at the depots.
“Stations are now cutting down costs because most don’t have enough money to buy products to distribute to their outlets. That is why you see that those with more than one station had to close down some of them”.
Another source who craved anonymity said;
“the economy is tough right now and marketers have been unable to import products. Emadeb had teamed up with some other marketers and brought in about 27 million litres.
“But since then, who else did you hear has brought in the product? We are now back to the era of NNPCL being the sole importer, and would still continue to dictate what the market price would be.”
Further checks revealed many major outlets within Lagos metropolis did not dispense fuel to customers on Tuesday.
It was observed that between Berger and Iyanoworo stretch of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, major outlets like Conoil (two outlets), Total (two outlets), African Petroleum, Oando and Enyo did not dispense fuel to customers.
At Mobil Filling station located adjacent to the Lagos State Secretariat (in-bound Alausa), there was a sizeable queue of motorists waiting in line to buy petrol while other customers lined up with jerry cans and jostled in a bid to get ahead in the queue.
The development sparked fears among motorists who expressed concern that Tuesday’s turn of events could be a prelude to an increase in the pump price of petrol.
Some filling stations along Idimi-Egbeda axis were also visited on Tuesday, and it was observed that an outlet belonging to the NNPCL along the axis was not selling.
It was also observed that there was queue at an Oando fuel station on the axis.
At Dopemu, inward Agege, it was observed that a NIPCO outlet was selling with little or no queue.
Commenting on the development in the South-West, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said though the queues had yet to get to the South-South, North and other regions, the drop in imports might warrant a spread in queues.
“People cannot import because there is NP forex to do that, and this is not good for a liberalised market.
That is why we’ve continued to advocate for the rehabilitation of refineries in good time to avoid a spread of such queues to other regions of the country,” he stated.