The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has confirmed its determination to partner some independent marketers of petroleum products with the aim of taking over their filling stations and ensure a more steady supply of fuel throughout the country.
The development confirms Shipping Position Weekly’s recent exclusive story in which we reported that a large percentage of such retail outlets are to be taken over by the NNPC preparatory to its being transformed into an entirely commercial company in line with the reforms contained in the much-expected Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Confirming the move NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo disclosed that NNPC has already taken over 133 filling stations from independent marketers.
Speaking at a two-day consultative meeting between government representatives and labour leaders on deregulation in Abuja last week, Dr Barkindo explained that the filling stations were taken over from independent marketers who were willing to partner with the corporation.
According to him, the essence is to ensure that more stations will now come under the direct supervision of NNPC which currently operates 37 mega and 12 floating stations in some parts of the country.
Justifying the move, the NNPC boss said: “In all developing countries, their national oil companies operate across the supply chain, including the strategic downstream sector and it is not only seen from commercial perspective but also from national security implications. You cannot handover that sector to a group of people, private individuals, who you cannot predict their political coloration, cannot predict the decision they may take and the implication of such decision”.
Dr Barkindo was blunt to say that the proposal was aimed at breaking the monopoly which marketers currently enjoys and which according to him has often been to the disadvantage of all.
“Today, it only needs a text message round the marketing companies that simply says, stop loading in Mosimi for one day and you will see the multiplier effects across the country, from Sokoto to Maiduguri.
“If they don’t load for one day, you will see queues across the country. Why? They have the monopoly over the supply chain. About 15,000 stations in the country are not owned by the NNPC nor are they owned by the Product and Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) .They are owned by these marketing companies. Once we sell products from the depot, they take over in terms of where they will supply the products.”