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Senate gives NNPC seven days ultimatum to end fuel scarcity

By Balogun Alabi,

The Nigerian Senate has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) a seven days ultimatum to end lingering scarcity of petrol and clear queues in filling stations across the country.

It was gathered that the order came following a unanimous adoption of report of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on the fuel crisis in the country, at plenary.

According to the report presented by committee Chairman, Kabiru Marafa, the committee recommended that NNPC should be given seven days ultimatum to end recurring long queues in fuel stations in the country.

The committee however urged security agencies to ensure effective border patrol to check diversion of petroleum products to neighboring countries.

While making the order on Thursday in Abuja, the committee also recommended that the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) should double efforts to enforce compliance with government’s regulated pump price of petroleum products.

Marafa hinted that the committee moved around some cities, including Abuja and Lagos State, to ascertain the situation on ground during recess.

“When we thought that we were making progress, we just realised that the queues were resurfacing in fuel stations.

“We also engaged with the NNPC and other stakeholders and we were informed that there were challenges of supply coupled with massive smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries for higher prices,” he said.

The committee lamented that it discovered that there was also challenge of petroleum marketers selling above Federal Government approved pump price.

In response, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urged NNPC to ensure compliance with the resolution and endeavour to end the queues within seven days.

NNPC set to build more depots, expand market share

By Zulaykha Abodunrin,

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Managing Director, Maikanti Baru has revealed the corporation’s plans to build more depots across the country.

Baru made this known, Monday in Abuja while inaugurating the board of one of its downstream Companies, NNPC Retail limited.

In a statement signed by the corporation’s Group General Manager of the Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, Baru further stated that the addition to the corporation’s existing 23 depots nationwide would ease products supply and distribution in the country, while lauding NNPC Retail for its strong intervention to wet the market at a time when other downstream players were playing underhand games to create artificial scarcity.

“I want to charge the members of the board to expand the company’s market share from 13 to 30 per cent said building more depots by the corporation was more feasible than acquiring dormant. The boards should see to the expansion of the NNPC Retail beyond the shores of Nigeria, by mid-2019, you should be having plans to go into the sub-region, this board should propel NNPC Retail into a new height’’.

Speaking on diversification and backward integration, Baru directed the company to venture into lubricants production, marine and industrial services to boost its revenue profile as it was an line with our quest as an integrated oil company.

On his part, Chairman of the board and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed, said as an NNPC-owned company, the watch word for NNPC Retail should be “efficiency and profitability, especially in a downstream system like ours that is highly competitive”.

He pledged the commitment of the board and management of the company to the attainment of the goals of the corporation.

Managing Director of the Company, Yemi Adetunji, expressed delight that the GMD had reinforced the vision of the company to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria, adding that the targets were achievable especially with the support of the board and management of the company.

Other members of the board include: Engineer Henry Ikem Obih, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Downstream, as alternate Chairman; COO, Refineries, Engr. Anibo Kragha; GGM, Shipping, Hajia Aisha Ahmadu Katagun;  Mr. Yemi Adetunji and some other top Management Staff. Mrs. Obioma Agbambo, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, NNPC Retail, will serve as Secretary to the board.

Tanker drivers urges FG to fix bad roads, threatens boycott

By Balogun Alabi,

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), has threatened to boycott bad some bad roads across the country if  the Federal Government failed to  repair  important  roads before the raining season, as the warning may affect smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products to some parts of the country.

It was gathered that the association had earlier paid a visit to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to report the matter, especially the road leading to the Tatabu Bridge from Jebba to Mokwa area of Niger State which was terrible where trucks spend days on the road, but the government remained adamant.

The drivers urged FG to repair some of the bad roads identified, as Tanker Drivers could not do anything to assuage the suffering of Nigerians under the circumstance.

According to PTD, some bad roads were currently by-passed to Mosimi to demonstrate that the drivers was ready to work 24 hours to ensure smooth supply of products across the country.

While making the threat in a statement signed made available to journalist on Wednesday in Abuja, the Union, Head Media Relations, Abdulkadir Garba, quoted the PTD National Chairman, Salimon Oladiti, as saying that the FG should expedite action on repairing the roads, as the situation would get out of control if rain begins.

Oladiti added that the union would be left with no choice than to boycott some of the bad roads, except solution was provided to stem tide of tankers breaking down.

Also, the chairman commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for supplying petroleum products through the system Two- B.

“The system now bridges fuel products to the North and other parts of the country through Ibadan- Mosimi and Ejigbo depots as well as Warri-Calabar-Aba depots, while waiting for the commencement of Ilorin-Ore depots among others,” he said.

However, the association said that it supported use of depots outside Lagos State, as it decongested gridlock in Apapa area of the state, as well as, eased problem of fuel scarcity.

“The perennial problem of fuel scarcity will soon be a thing of the past,” he added.

FG orders Kachikwu, Baru to clear fuel queues by weekend

By Abolaji Adebayo

The Federal Government has mandated the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, to clear the fuel queues in Abuja and Lagos by the weekend.

The directive was issued on Wednesday at the federal executive council meeting presided over by Vice-President.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who briefed journalists about the development, said contrary to speculation, the government has no intention to hike fuel price in the country.

He said, “No. The government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of PMS, the minister has assured the council that we have enough products till the next one month even till the end of January.

“Again, this is winter period. There is always more demand for refined products for petroleum during winter period in the colder countries, this is what we are experiencing now.

“Also, it has been the NNPC that has been importing but he has assured. The council gave him a matching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed. He assured council that there is actually no cause for alarm.”

The information minister said Kachikwu told members of the FEC that the NNPC has enough fuel to last the country till end of January 2018.

NNPC Boss cuts short London trip as fuel queues return

By Abolaji Adebayo

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has cut short his trip to London as queues returned to the country’s filling stations.

Baru was due to receive the Forbes Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award 2017, on Tuesday, but had to fly back to the country because of what he called “matter of urgent national importance,” Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC spokesman, said in a press statement.

“For the umpteenth time, I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop been panic about fuel scarcity. We have said times without number that NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers,” Baru said before leaving London, according to Ughamadu.

He stated that before departing the country, the GDM had directed that more truckloads of petroleum products be dispatched to various parts of the country to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying.

NNPC had on Monday said that there was no plan to increase the prices of petroleum products “both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide.”

The Corporation stated that the ex-depot petrol price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre had not changed and that there was enough stock of fuel to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.

NNPC assuages public fear on imminent petroleum scarcity during yuletide

By Abolaji Adebayo

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has lessened the public fear on the anticipated looming scarcity of petroleum products during the festival season caused by Lagos chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) threat to halt supply.

It assured the populace that there would be nationwide supply of enough petroleum products during festival season to aid free movement of motors and domestic usage.

This was against the insinuations in some corners threatening scarcity of the products by the Lagos chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) to withdraw its services in Lagos and its environs sequel to alleged discrepancies in ex-depot prices, among others.

In a statement by the Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, the Corporation lessened the threat by assuring the citizens of availability at the Ejigbo Satellite Depot and steady supply during the season.

It further explained that the Ejigbo Satellite Depot had consistently dispensed premium motor spirit (petrol) at the approved price of N133.28 per litre contrary to allegations that it was sold at a higher price.

It declared that there was enough petroleum products in the country to last till the end of the year and that 25 vessels laden with petroleum products were also being expected to berth between now and January 2018 to further boost supplies.

The Corporation, therefore, cautioned the public against hording of the products to avert any kind of disaster as there would be enough supply of petroleum products for public consumption.

It stated that the appropriate government agencies have been contacted to settle the rift among IPMAN, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA).

Baru bags Forbes oil, gas Man-of-the-Year

By Abolaji Adebayo

The  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has been awarded Forbes 2017 Best Africa Oil and Gas Man-of -the-Year, the honour of which added to the corporation’s head landmark since he assumed office.

In arriving at the choice of Baru, the New York based internationally media organization indicated that it had followed with keen interest rising profile and impressive career path of the NNPC’s GMD through the years.

According to Forbes, the award and other landmark achievements which he has recorded throughout enviable career, nomination for the prestigious Forbes 2017 Award has been approved by the organization’s Custom’s Award Committee.

confirmation from the Forbes stated that the award ceremony would be graced by doyens of the international oil and gas business community, policy makers, entrepreneurs, politicians, opinion leaders, among others.

Meanwhile, a statement released by the corporation, maintained that Baru’s 18-month stewardship  as chief executive of the NNPC has earned him numerous awards and accolades affirming his leadership qualities.

The awards, as listed by the corporation, include:  Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Award for the promotion of the growth of Nigerian companies and entrepreneurs in the petroleum industry; PETAN 2017 Oil and Gas Industry Award in recognition of the Corporation’s aggressive exploration campaign in the Benue Trough and the Chad Basin, as well as the Diamond Award in recognition of NNPC’s support and contribution towards the success of SPE’s Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) 2017, among others.

Baru, a First Class honours graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Mechanical Engineering, who also won Shell BP Petroleum Prize for the Best Final Year Mechanical Engineering Student and the Lever Brothers Prize for the Best Final Year Mechanical Engineering Investigation Project at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982, is a Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE); Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FNIMechE); Fellow, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (FNSChE); Fellow, Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHAssociation) UK; Honourary Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians; Honourary Fellow, Nigerian Environmental Society (FNES HON); Honourary Fellow, Nigerian Metallurgical Society; Fellow; Institute of Chartered Mediators and Arbitrators (ICMA).

He is also Member, Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN); Member, Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) and Chairman of the NGA Advisory Board; Member, Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IoD); Member, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN); and Honourary Member, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), among others.

OPEC to decide Nigerian, Libyan oil output

By Abolaji Adebayo with agency reports

Two days to the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) scheduled for Thursday, the organization is said to debate this week whether to cap oil output from Nigeria and Libya, which have so far been excluded from supply curbs due to falling production amid unrest, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

The 14-member OPEC meets on Thursday to decide whether to extend production cuts until the end of 2018.

According to media reports, the sources said the idea was to cap Nigerian output at 1.8 million barrels per day and Libyan at one million bpd.

The NNPC said was looking to set up a 3.5 to five billion dollars cash-for-crude prepayment with some of the world’s top commodity traders to fund oil and gas upstream projects as well as related infrastructure.

Africa’s biggest oil producer and OPEC member was hit hard by the sharp drop in global oil prices in 2014 that pushed it into its first recession in 25 years.

The country returned to growth-mode in the second quarter.

Already cash-strapped and weighed down by billions of dollars in old debts, NNPC has also been looking to bring in outside cash.

The sources said Standard Chartered was hired to advise on the oil prepayment and a request-for-proposal was issued a few weeks ago for a 3.5 to 5 billion dollars loan to be repaid with crude over five to seven years.

A spokesman for Standard Chartered declined to comment. A spokesman for NNPC declined to comment.

The sources added that a decision was expected before the end of this year.

It was learned that around seven trading firms were still in the running with top trading houses Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura as being among the active contenders.

The West African OPEC member was seeking three offtakers, one of the sources said, against 70,000 barrels per day of crude.

Vitol already has a major presence in Nigeria after buying petrol stations via a joint venture with local producer Oando and private equity fund Helios.

Vitol was also among a list of major traders, including Trafigura, that participated in a swap scheme to deliver refined products in exchange for crude.

Profit margins for trading firms have been slowly eroding over the last few years as transparency in oil markets has increased, reducing arbitrage opportunities, once based on privileged information.

Increasing traded volumes was one way to raise profits and competition was fierce for prepayment deals with state oil firms.

Nigeria’s NNPC has had cash-flow problems for years and has been chronically behind payments for its stakes in upstream joint-ventures with Shell, Chevron, Total, Eni and ExxonMobil.

After project development began to stall following the collapse in oil prices, Oil Minister Ibe Kachikwu reached a deal last year with its major foreign oil-producers to repay 5.1 billion dollars over five years, interest free.

NNPC has already leveraged over 300,000 barrels per day of crude to cover current fuel imports via a crude-for-product swap scheme as well as debts to traders dating back nearly a decade.

NNPC to open mega station in Ogun ahead yuletide

By Abolaji Adebayo

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is set for the commissioning of a new ultra-modern mega filling station near Sagamu, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State ahead of yuletide just as it pledged its commitment to the promotion of consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, otherwise called cooking gas.

This, according to the Corporation, was a gesture towards making fuel available for the motorists during the festival period.

Speaking at press briefing in Abuja, the Managing Director of NNPC Retail, a subsidiary of NNPC, Yemi Adetunji, disclosed that the station would focus more on the consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

Adetunji stated on Tuesday that presently his Company enjoyed between four and five per cent of the country’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market share, adding that it was, however, poised to grow its share of the market to 10 per cent.

He said the decision to focus on the LPG market by NNPC Retail was to align with the federal government’s plan to promote cooking gas usage in the country.

According to him, NNPC retail would soon begin a nationwide monitoring exercise of its stations and the affiliate ones to ensure that its customers do not suffer from products under-dispensing, among others.

“One of the key factors in retail business is that customers get value for what they pay. We have a zero-tolerance for under-dispensing. We have a network development and control section that monitors under-dispensing, and policing the sales and our dealers. We have sanctions if they are caught. If it gets to a point, then contracts of dealers will be terminated,” said Adetunji.

The MD noted that the Company would be leveraging on its brand equity which remained one of the highest in the industry in the last 15 years to consolidate and grow its retail business portfolio across the country.

On the new mega station scheduled to be commissioned on Thursday, Adetunji said the establishment of the station was in line with its company’s desire to expand its services with a view to growing its share of the downstream business in the country.

He stated that currently NNPC Retail Limited enjoyed 14 per cent of the market share of the sale of white products, adding that the Company aimed at attaining 15 per cent of the mark share soonest.

He explained that the establishment of the new mega station was in line with the 12-Business Focus Areas (BUFA) of NNPC, disclosing that two more ultra-mega stations in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, would be inaugurated later this year and first quarter of 2018 respectively.

He noted, “It is a state-of-the-art 22-nozzle station. It has a bigger capacity, would be 24/7 open, available at all time. It is much bigger and can serve more vehicles conveniently at the same time. It has room for expansion to build a hotel and a park for tanker drivers that want to relax and lay over.”

He informed that the station was built with high regards for Health Safety and the Environment in line with the NNPC’s zero safety initiative which is designed to ensure nil record of accident or incident in areas of operation.

Ahead of the upcoming festive season, Adetunji stated that the retail outfit had made all necessary arrangements to keep its stations wet across the country.

OPEC sets for tough meeting amid anticipated oil deficit

By Abolaji Adebayo with agency reports

The upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) scheduled for Thursday might be tough as members are expected to have harsh policy talks amid concern that the efforts to rebalance the oil market might overshoot by creating a global deficit and spurring a further price rally.

“It will not be an easy meeting and we always look at various scenarios,” United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazroui said on Tuesday in Dubai before leaving for the gathering of the OPEC in Vienna.

OPEC, Russia and nine other producers are cutting oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018, and on Thursday will discuss extending the deal.

The market had largely expected OPEC to prolong cuts until the end of 2018 but doubts have emerged in the last few days.

OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia has signaled that it wants oil to trade at about 60 dollars per barrel as the kingdom prepares to list shares in its national oil champion Aramco and is still fighting a large fiscal deficit.

The Russian government also wanted high oil prices ahead of a presidential election in March 2018.

Officials in Moscow have voiced worries about pricier oil boosting the rouble, which could undermine the competitiveness of Russia’s economy.

As oil rallied above 60 dollars per barrel, U.S. producers aggressively hedged their future production, raising fears of another spike in shale output in the U.S., which is not participating in the global production curbs.

Goldman Sachs, one of the most active banks in commodity trading and oil producer hedging, said on Tuesday that the outcome of the OPEC meeting was uncertain.

“The absence of such a consensus is due to the uncertainty on the progress of the oil market rebalancing as well as Brent oil prices trading at $63 per barrel,” the U.S. bank said in a note.

“The push for a nine-month extension, four months before the cuts end and given an accelerating rebalancing further stands in the face of prior comments that the cuts should remain data-dependent to assess their effectiveness.”

U.S. oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Monday and eased further on Tuesday from a two-year high reached.

Goldman said oil might fall further this week as the market had priced in a nine-month extension.

“We continue to expect a gradual ramp up in OPEC and Russian production from April onward,” Goldman said, adding “as a result, the announcement of an only six-month extension would still initially appear bullish relative to our expectation”.

On Friday, Russia said it was ready to support extending the output-cutting deal but had still to decide on the duration.

It was reported that a major Russian production project led by Exxon Mobil was preparing to ramp up output by a quarter from next year.

The project was not subject to the global output-cutting deal but the development would signal an obstacle to Russia’s efforts on production curtailment.

The Exxon project involves Rosneft, the Kremlin-owned state producer whose boss Igor Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has long been a critic of Moscow’s deal with the 14-country OPEC.

Sources close to talks between OPEC and Russia said tha Moscow wanted to fine-tune the language of the deal to include an option to review the agreement if global stocks fell steeply.

The supply pact was aimed at reducing oil stocks in industrialized countries to their five-year average.

The latest figures suggest OPEC was more than halfway there, with OPEC sources saying the target could be reached after June 2018.