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Marketers Justify Selling Petrol Above N86.50 – Punch

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The reason why many filling stations across the country have refused to comply with the Federal Government’s directive to sell a litre of petrol for N86.50 as against the old pump price of N87 is because most of them had stockpiled the product in anticipation of a likely price increase by the government.

Compliance by filling station owners with the new pump price of N86.50 for a litre of petrol has not been great across the country even though the Department of Petroleum Resources, the regulator of the downstream petroleum sector, has vowed to punish defaulters.

In some instances, the filling station owners and managers have become more daring, displaying new prices above the stipulated maximum on their petrol dispensing pumps.

One of our correspondent actually bought petrol at a filling station along Gbongan Road, Osogbo, the Osun State capital for N110 per litre on Monday. The price was proudly displayed on the digital dispensing machine instead of the practice before of displaying the regulated price of N87 per litre, but the attendants would inform the buyer of a higher price and the difference would be calculated based on the volume bought.

When asked why the station’s management was bold to display N110 as the pump price, a female attendant simply said that was the instruction given by the owners.

The PPPRA had on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, announced that retail filling stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation would from Friday, January 1, 2016, sell petrol at N86 per litre, while other marketers would sell the product for N86.5 per litre.

In Jos, the Plateau State capital, most major marketers are still selling at N87 per litre despite the N0.50 reduction in the fuel price. Only the NNPC mega stations have adjusted their pump price to the N86 stipulated by the PPPRA.

Some of the marketers told one of our correspondents that they could not afford to sell below that as they still had old stock.

One of the attendants, who simply identified himself as Ahmed, said the inconsistency in the Federal Government’s pronouncement prompted some marketers to hoard the product in anticipation of a price increase later.

“Our station discharged a full tanker before the New Year, but we were afraid of what the new price will be. However, we are for now sticking to the old price because we are still having our old stock,” he explained.

In Anambra State, a litre of petrol sold for N140 on the average on Monday as many filling station owners pretended not to have heard about the new price regime.

An attendant at a filling station in Awka said, “I don’t know about any new price for petrol. We sell a litre here for N140.”

A manager at a filling station, who pleaded anonymity said, “The new price you are talking about may be for government filling stations like those belonging to the NNPC and not for private filling stations.

“Besides, what we have here is old stock. We didn’t even buy at that price you are talking about.”

Filling stations in Enugu State have yet to comply with the Federal Government’s directive on the new pump price of petrol.

One of our correspondents, who monitored the situation on Sunday and Monday, observed that the product was being sold for between N120 and N150 per litre in different parts of the state.

In Oyo State, one of our correspondents found out that only a few independent marketers had the product and they sold a litre at prices ranging between N100 and N130.

Some of the independent marketers, who spoke on the development, said that they purchased the product at an inflated amount in Lagos.

“We are aware of the government’s directive but the truth is that we cannot sell at the government price when we purchased the product above N100 per litre in Lagos. Look around Ibadan and you will see that only independent marketers are selling the product. The major marketers cannot because they cannot buy at a high cost and sell at a loss,” he station manager of an independent filling station in Mokola area of Ibadan said.

In Niger State, independent marketers have not complied with the N86.50 per litre price regime as one of our correspondents who went round Minna, the state capital, on Monday observed that filling stations were selling the product at the old rate of N87 per litre.

The state Controller, DPR, Mr. Abdullahi Jankara, however, said he had not received any directive from the Federal Government on the new fuel price.

Filling stations in Uyo metropolis sold the product for N130 per litre on Sunday and Monday even as many of them did not open for business.

The only filling station seen selling petrol at N86 per litre was the NNPC mega station on Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo.

A former Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Victor Eteafia, said the downstream sector of the economy was facing a crisis.

In major cities in Ogun State, a litre of petrol was still sold for between N100 and N130 on Sunday and Monday.

In Rivers State, the product is selling for between N130 and N140 per litre as against the Federal Government’s new price regime of N86.5.

At Romans Filling Station located on Ada George Road, petrol has been selling for N130 per litre in the past one week. The filling station had been dispensing the product for N140 per litre before Christmas.

Also in Kogi State, it was gathered that the major marketers were selling the product at N87 per litre while other marketers still sell as high as N120 per litre.

The Kwara State Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Mr. Olanrewaju Okanlawon, said members of the body bought their current petrol stock at the old price and would comply as soon as they start buying it at the new ex-depot price.

A former Treasurer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Western Zone, Mr. Shina Amoo, told one of our correspondents in Osogbo that independent marketers could not comply with the directive on the new petrol price because they bought the product higher than the approved price.

He said, “I bought the product for N102 per litre on Thursday and later I bought it at N94.5 per litre. So, you don’t expect anybody who bought at those prices to sell a litre for N86; it is not possible.

“The price will continue to come down as supply increases. Government will not need to force anybody to reduce the price; the forces of demand and supply will determine the price.”

When contacted for comment on why some filling stations were not complying with the new pump price regime, the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, said he expected all outlets to comply before the end of this week.

He stated that some of the filling stations still had old stocks, adding that they would have to adjust to the new price when they finish selling those stocks.

When asked if the government was still paying the marketers the bridging claims, Okoronkwo said, “There is still bridging fund. We have not been informed of any change.”

The Federal Government, through the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, pays bridging claims to the marketers to ensure that there is uniform pricing system across the country and ensure that each marketing company complies with the laws regarding the management of the transportation equalisation process.

The Deputy Manager, Communications, DPR, Mr. George Ene-Ita, said, “If they (filling station owners) don’t comply, we will sanction them; either we shut down the stations or fine them. Monitoring is a routine thing. We have a standing monitoring and compliance unit in the DPR. It is a routine procedure; it never stops.

“It is not just to monitor and enforce the government-regulated prices, but also to monitor and enforce compliance with all regulatory issues concerning the downstream. And that is going on; we are ensuring that every marketer and every facility owner complies with the new official pump price.

Informed that some marketers were selling at higher prices because they still had old stock, Ene-Ita said, “That does not concern us. Government did not stipulate two pump prices, one for old stock and one for new stock.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Slips With Energy Prices in Europe Halts Record Rally

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Oil dipped toward $72 a barrel in New York after prices of energy commodities in Europe halted a record-breaking run.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.6%, having reached the highest intraday level since early August on Wednesday. A rally in European gas and power prices to unprecedented levels was set to end as industries were starting to curb consumption. The surge in energy rates could temporarily boost diesel demand by as much as 2 million barrels a day as consumers switch fuels, according to Citigroup Inc.

Still, the bullish signals for oil are continuing to increase. U.S. crude inventories dropped by more than 6 million barrels last week to a two-year low, according to government figures, as coronavirus vaccination programs permit economies to reopen. Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Mike Wirth warned that the world is facing high energy prices for the foreseeable future.

The investor optimism is showing up in key oil time spreads widening. Trading of bullish Brent options also surged to a two-month high on Wednesday.

Prices have been pushed higher in recent days “by supply outages combined with expectations of switching from gas to oil in the power sector,” said Helge Andre Martinsen, a senior oil market analyst at DNB Bank ASA. “We still believe in softer prices toward year-end and early next year as curtailed production returns and OPEC+ continues to increase production.”

Strong prices for gas, liquefied natural gas and oil are expected to last “for a while” as producers resist the urge to drill again, Chevron’s Wirth told Bloomberg News. Norway’s Equinor ASA said Thursday it also expects European gas prices to remain high over winter.

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Energy

Fuel Scarcity: Petrol Sells N220 Per Litre in Nsukka

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Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, now sells for between N200 and N220 per liter at the independent marketers’ service stations in Nsukka, Enugu State.

The News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the hike in the price against the official pump price of N162 per liter.

It said it started about a fortnight ago due to the scarcity of the commodity in the town and its environs.

Some residents of the town expressed deep worry over the development in separate interviews with NAN on Wednesday.

A civil servant, Stephen Ozioko, said the situation had further compounded the economic difficulties in the area.

Ozioko said many private car owners had been compelled to park their vehicles at home and move around in public transport.

He said: “Since the scarcity started, I decided to park my car and take public transport to the office and back home. N220 per liter is exorbitant and I cannot afford it considering my salary as a civil servant. I shall continue to use public transport until the situation returns to normal.”

A building material dealer, Timothy Ngwu, said the development had also led to an increase in transport fare in the area.

Ngwu said: “Some people now trek from Nsukka Old Park to Odenigbo Roundabout because of the 100 percent hike in fares from N50 to N100 by tricycle.

“Before now, transport fare from Nsukka to Enugu was N500, but transporters now charge between N800 and N1000.”

Also, a commuter bus driver, Victor Ogbonna, described the scarcity and hike in the price of petrol as “unfortunate and an ugly development”.

Ogbonna added: “Today, only a few filling stations are selling the commodity in Nsukka town, while others are shut.”

He alleged that some filling stations, which claimed to be out-of-stock, were selling to black marketers at night.

He said: “This is why black marketers have sprung up everywhere in the town, selling the commodity for about N300 per liter.”

NAN reports that virtually all the major marketers in the area have stopped the sale of petrol, claiming to be out-of-stock.

The people called on the government to urgently intervene in order to bring the situation under control and also put an end to its harsh economic effects on the messes.

NAN.

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Energy

DPR Targets N3.2T Revenue by Year-End

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Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)-Investors king

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will hit the N3.2 trillion revenue target by December 2021, according to its Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu.

Auwalu made the disclosure when he led a delegation of the DPR management team to the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr Bello Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that 70 percent of the revenue projection had already been met. “Last year, we exceed our revenue budget. We were given N1.5 trillion but we were able to generate N2.7trillion.

“This year, our revenue budget was N3.2 trillion. By the end of August 2021, we have generated up to 70 per cent.

“So, we with September, October, November and December, it is only the 30 per cent that we will work over,’’ he said

He noted that the government took advantage of fiscal terms within the old and new legislation, thereby creating a level of increased signature bonuses.

“We reorganise the work programme that is normally being done in the DPR to key into the new operational structure as we see it in the bill, now an act.

“That programme is being handled by the planning and strategic business unit as against what we use to have because the entire work programme is supposed to show not only technical but also commercial and viability of oil fields and to guarantee the return on investment for investors.

“We have also created an economic value and benchmarking unit to key into the new fiscal provisions of the PIA,’’ he said.

Commenting on capacity, Auwalu said the country stands at the advantage of exporting skills to emerging oil and gas countries across Africa with proper implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act.

This, he said, the DPR was ready to partner with the Fund to continue to build capacity in the oil and gas sector

He noted that the Federal Government was determined to create leeway that would encourage investors and drastically improve the nation’s petroleum industry.

He further noted that no fewer than 300 legal battles in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which had been stalled for the past 20 years in courts, had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution.

According to Auwalu, the DPR is strategising well to ensure effective implementation of the PIA.

Responding, Gusau commended the DPR for enabling the industry and enhancing business activities in the oil and gas sector.

He said that DPR remained the head of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria adding that the Fund was grateful to benefit from the wealth of ideas from DPR.

“The last time we visited, we had a good discussion and issues raised are being implemented like tracking the inflow of funds in signature bonus accounts.

“We extended the meeting and involved ministry of Finance, Accountant General office and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Sitting at field development plans and attending significant meetings, helped us to know where and what the industry is trying to do and it also helps to inform our decisions in training and capacity plans,’’ he said

He urged the DPR to continue on its effort to ensure an efficient and productive petroleum industry in Nigeria

He assured collaboration with all as the head of the implementation committee of the Petroleum Industry Act. (NAN)

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