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Fuel Queues Lengthen in Abuja as NNPC Cautions against Panic Buying

Several filling stations in Abuja had long queues to deal with on Tuesday, just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dispelled fear of scarcity of petroleum products, particularly

Several filling stations in Abuja had long queues to deal with on Tuesday, just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dispelled fear of scarcity of petroleum products, particularly petrol.

In Abuja, young men were seen selling petrol to motorists in jerrycans, amid complaints by retailers that they now buy at a higher price of N153 per litres, up by N5, from the N148 recommended price.

Oando filling station, opposite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) headquarters in Abuja had several motorists jostling to be served at about 1.30pm when THISDAY visited the area.

The same situation was observed at the NNPC mega station on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, in zone 3, just like the fuel queues swelled in Asokoro, Maitama and other high brow areas of the capital territory, with a 10-litre container selling for about N2000.

Meanwhile, NNPC has declared that there’s no need to buy fuel in panic, stating that it has enough products to serve Nigeria beyond the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said the corporation has over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in the country for distribution, adding that another 2.3 billion litres would be coming into the country within the month.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday in his keynote address at the 2021 edition of the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC)’s Strategic International Conference, held in Lagos.

The theme of the conference was “Petroleum Industry Act: Energy Transition and the Future of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas.”

Kyari, who spoke virtually from Glasgow, Scotland, where he is currently participating at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), said NNPC’s main objective was to provide energy security for Nigeria and ensure availability of petroleum products in the country.

He added that though, there were issues around pricing at some depots, but that government has no plan to migrate to any new pricing structure.

Kyari said: “As we speak now, there is speculation of fuel scarcity within the media but we have over 1.7 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit in the country.

“We have another 2.3 billion litres coming in so there is no shortage in supply as being speculated.

“Of course, there are issues around pricing at some depots but government has no plan to migrate to any new pricing structure.”

He, however, said the ongoing COP26 once more highlighted challenges faced by Nigeria and other African countries in the global energy transition.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech before the world leaders, had demanded for energy justice for the continent and the need to exploit the available resources as a pathway to attain the net-zero carbon objective by 2050.

The NNPC boss noted that though Africa accounted for only about three per cent of the global carbon emission, the continent still had the responsibility to join the world in combating climate change.

According to him, Nigeria has identified its abundant gas resources as its fuel for energy transition, which informed the declaration of the year 2021 to year 2030 as the Decade of Gas by the government.

Kyari said: “We are making good progress in terms of the implementation of the PIA which is clearly creating the path for transition.

“There is no way we can achieve this feat without adequate infrastructure to transport the resources to where it will be used and that is why we are investing in massive gas infrastructure.”

He listed the projects as the Obiafu-Obrikon-Oben (OB3) and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipelines, which he noted, would deepen gas utilisation in the country.

Also, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote, said the passage of the PIA has opened a vista of opportunities for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Wabote, who was represented at the event by the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB, Mr. Akintunde Adelana, said the implementation of PIA would impact positively on local content development and host communities.

He added that the Act would also stimulate the much-needed investment to the oil and gas industry.

The Chairman of the NAEC Conference and member of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Mr Biodun Adesanya, lauded the setting aside of 30 per cent of the profit of the NNPC for exploration activities in the frontier basins, in the PIA.

Adesanya said the discovery of oil and gas resources in other areas apart from the Niger Delta was a welcomed development which should be pursued with vigour by the country.

He, however called for the appointment of competent personnel to manage the sector, noting that this was the only way Nigerians could benefit from the country’s abundant oil and gas resources.

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos