……….The potential for a reduction in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as petrol, is looming in filling stations run by independent marketers this week.
Oil dealers revealed on Saturday that this anticipated decrease is a result of significant imports of PMS by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
The recent surge in petrol prices at retail outlets operated by independent marketers was attributed to a shortage of the commodity, leading to profit-driven practices by both depot owners and filling stations. This situation prompted concerns about escalating costs for consumers.
However, operators in the downstream oil sector confirmed on Saturday night that numerous cargoes imported by NNPCL had reached Nigeria. Currently, some of these cargoes are actively discharging at the ports, offering a ray of hope for increased availability and potentially mitigating the pricing challenges faced by consumers.
“Once the products start hitting filling stations, fuel price will reduce, because the recent high cost was due to supply drop,” the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, told our correspondent.
On Thursday, oil marketers blamed the emergence of queues for petrol at filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states on the low supply of PMS by its sole importer – NNPCL.
However, the national oil company refuted the position of marketers, as it argued that the queues in the affected areas were due to a “price war.”
But going by the latest development concerning the imports by NNPCL, operators in the sector stated that the queues would not only disappear but there would be a reduction in price at independent filling stations.
Currently, petrol is mostly sold at between N580 and N613/litre at filling stations operated by NNPCL. Most other marketers dispense the commodity at higher rates, with some selling PMS for as high as N670/litre.
“The most important thing now is that cargoes carrying PMS ordered by NNPCL have arrived, some of them have berthed and they are discharging. So the partial scarcity we are experiencing now will be gone,” Ukadike said.
He noted that the inflow of foreign exchange during the Yuletide would not necessarily impact petrol prices, rather the increased imports by NNPCL should warrant a reduction in price.
He said the large PMS imports were confirmed to marketers by NNPCL.
On whether marketers had started receiving the products, Ukadike replied, “By Monday we will start receiving from Port Harcourt and Warri, based on my last discussion with the NNPC management.”
Another major marketer also confirmed the position of IPMAN, as he stated that “when you wet the market with products, there’ll be no room for profiteering.”
The Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, Olufemi Soneye, refuted claims made by oil marketers about the reappearance of fuel queues. He asserted that their position was inaccurate and emphasized that the oil company had an ample supply of products.
“That is not true. The recent tightness in Abuja is essentially a price war which is typical of any competitive market. Motorists would rather queue at filling stations that offer lower prices than others.
“While NNPC retail is selling at N613/litre in Abuja, other marketers’ prices range from N625-N650/litre,” Soneye said.