There are strong indications that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may have foreclosed the use of tank farms at the popular Ibru jetty in Lagos in its execution of government’s deregulation policy.
Under the policy, NNPC through its subsidiary, the Petroleum and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) will take charge of products importation which it will in turn allocate the various reception facilities.
The decision to monopolize importation of petroleum products and other issues were the outcome of a crucial meeting which held last week between stakeholders and the government agencies in the downstream sector.
Sources at the meeting which was reportedly attended by NNPC, the DPR and also the depot owners and the major marketers and which was called by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) confirmed to our correspondent that NNPC seized the opportunity of the meeting to reiterate the fact that it will take charge of importation of petroleum products.
Our source also confirmed that NNPC told the importers and marketers pointedly that it will use the facilities at the tank farms owned by Capital oil, Folawiyo, Ibafon, Rahamanniya, as well as NIPCO and Obat.
The decision, we are told is based on an earlier facility inspection to the tank farms by the minister of state petroleum, Mr Odein Ajumogobia.
Meanwhile the downstream operators also used the meeting to bare their minds on the need to put some facilities in place before deregulation commences
At the closed door meeting, the stakeholders pointed out that before the subsidy on fuel is removed, government should make sure that the refineries are in working condition and also make sure that more are constructed in collaboration with the help of the private sector.
Reliable sources at the meeting confirmed to Shipping Position Weekly that the meeting was called by the PPPRA in order to achieve a reasonable price regime for petroleum product after the deregulation is flagged off.
According to the source, the PPPRA deeply frowned at the cost at which kerosene is being sold currently at filling stations and called for a dialogue with the importers to ensure that deregulation is not hijacked by them in order to extort Nigerians by selling products at cut throat prices.
According to our source, who is also close to one of the importing companies, the major importers stood their ground insisting that the price of petroleum products will be determined by market forces.
.They gave that the landing cost of the product as well as demurrage and vessel hiring charges a part of what will determine the end price.