The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has again assured it would bring the chaotic fuel scarcity under control in a matter of days, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the allocation of an additional volume of crude oil to the NNPC for domestic refining as part of measures towards finding a lasting solution to the challenge of fuel supply.
Although the assurance was coming after the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, attracted widespread criticisms for telling Nigerians that he was not a magician and that the crisis could linger till May, the NNPC in a statement signed on Monday by its spokesman, Garba Deen Mohammed maintained that it was on top of the petroleum products supply and distribution situation, while remaining committed to eliminating the endemic issue once and for all within the next few days.
The Corporation urged Nigerians to report product hoarders and saboteurs of the administration’s change efforts as they are wittingly fighting every bold change effort currently being put in place and cautioned against panic buying and undue return trips as this attitude emboldens marketers to hoard products.
“Supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange. Similarly, as a result of credible leadership provided by the Honorable Minster of State, Petroleum Resources/Group Managing Director, NNPC, the major international upstream oil companies have indicated their willingness to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange,” the statement added.
NNPC further disclosed that the supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges facing marketers are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, through the adoption of innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange.
Similarly, it said, as a result of credible leadership provided by Kachikwu, the major international upstream oil companies had indicated their willingness to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange.
The corporation also noted that in resolving the crisis, it was vigorously pursuing an improved model for ‘crude oil for refined product’ exchange, the Direct Sale-Direct Purchase, DSDP, arrangement, which, it says, eliminates inefficiencies with an attendant cost-saving for the nation of about $1 billion, as well as the ability to guarantee sustainable product supply to the nation.
According to the statement, “In the medium term, NNPC is working on sustainable strategies to permanently address the issues and challenges facing the midstream and downstream sectors. The objective is to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products as was the case in the 1970s.
“Our commitment to ramp up our local refining capacity and availability remains unwavering with the ongoing rehabilitation works targeted at running all refineries at a minimum of 70 per cent capacity utilisation within the next six to eight months.
“This is in addition to our initiative of increasing the combined capacity of the domestic refineries through co-locating smaller but cost efficient modular refineries within the existing refineries premises within a time frame of 12 to 24 months.”
Mohammed also stated that to curb storage and logistics challenges, the NNPC is working on a joint partnership with technically and financially capable investors to ensure that petroleum products transportation and storage facilities are efficiently operated on an open-access common-carrier user-tariff basis.