Worried by the unexpected dwindling fortunes of operators in the nation’s downstream oil market, some banks have started closing-in on some owners of multibillion naira tank farm businesses.
First to make good the threat last week was Intercontinental Bank Plc which reportedly petitioned the President over the failure of some of the companies to meet the condition for loans repayment.
Shipping Position Weekly confirmed from top industry sources last week that Intercontinental Bank Plc has already dragged three down stream operators to Aso Rock villa. They are: Capital Oil and Gas, Rahamanniya Oil and Gas and Tanzilla Petroleum Company.
In the petition, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent, the bank lamented that “facilities running into several billions of naira are made available to institutions and individuals of perceived high networth, to trade or carry out businesses having direct impact on the fiscal and economic policies of the country, yet these facilities are neither serviced nor repaid in line with the terms of the contract. Not that the businesses do not yield the envisaged profits or dividends, rather the same have been diverted for other selfish and less that altruistic purposes.”
There are about 22 down stream operators which own tank farms in Lagos alone. The rise in the number of these companies became noticeable around 2005 when then – President Olusegun Obasanjo allowed local players to compete with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the importation and marketing of petroleum products.
As a result of the policy, oil marketers gradually took control of the business, accounting for about 70 per cent of total importation, leaving the remaining 30 per cent for the NNPC and its subsidiary; the Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC).
Sources hinted that the three companies may be owing more than N36 billion with Tanzilla Petroleum Company reportedly accounting for a whopping N18Billion.
Shipping Position Weekly confirmed that the banks may also close- in on some of the tank farms for which loans were taken to commence new construction. Our correspondent confirmed that at the moment about four tank farms are at different stages of construction in Lagos alone while some are also springing up in Calabar, cross Rivers state.