NNPC loses N50bn to Oil Thieves as Ministry get two weeks to end fuel crisis.

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) on Thursday announced that a total of 531 million litres of petrol valued at over N50 billion was lost to pipeline vandals between January and September, 2015.

The theft occurred at the problematic System 2B Pipeline network which stretches from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ilorin.

Notwithstanding, the Senate has given two weeks ultimatum to ministry of petroleum resources and its agencies two weeks to ensure that fuel is available across the country.

Esther Nnamdi-Ogbuen, Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, stated that the losses which chiefly accrued from the incessant hacking of the pipeline at the notorious Arepo to Mosimi axis of the pipeline artery has made the task of providing seamless flow of petroleum products to retail outlets more burdensome.

Despite the challenge posed by the unavailability of the vital System 2B Pipeline network however, the PPMC has continued to ensure that the country remains wet with petrol through massive truck-out from depots in Lagos, Oghara and recently Calabar.

She noted that the spirited efforts made so far by the Corporation to entrench zero fuel queues across the country are being hampered by the activities of some unscrupulous marketers involved in hoarding, sharp practices and diversion of petroleum products for sale in black markets across the country.

“We view this as a distortion to the economy and we have invited the DSS and the EFCC to take action,’’ she said.

Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Babatunde Adeniran, also told the Senate Committee that the fuel situation was exacerbated by the inability of oil marketers to meet their import allocation quota due to outstanding subsidy payments thus creating a gap which PPMC has been working round the clock to bridge despite the extraneous challenges like hoarding and incessant pipeline hacking..

Jamila Shu’ara Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and leader of the delegation harped on the need to build strategic reserve stock of petroleum products akin to the national grain reserves across the country.

This is one of the ways to ensure a lasting solution to the perennial problem of fuel scarcity,

Senator Uche Ekwunife, Committee Chairman, while acknowledging the efforts made so far by the NNPC to ensure unimpeded fuel supply, however gave the Ministry two weeks to ensure sanity in the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
He also directed the permanent secretary of the ministry to do everything within the jurisdiction of the organisation to ensure that products were available at government approved prices.

The directive followed a motion brought by Senator Barau Jibrin (APC- Kano North) and co-sponsored by 23 others.

The agencies that came were Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, among others.

“Nigerians want to see the immediate end to this fuel scarcity and also the uniformity of the price of the product across the country.

“As a committee, our target is that scarcity and discrepancies in price must stop and it must be done.

“Therefore, we are mandating the minister, the permanent secretary and other relevant agencies in the sector, that fuel scarcity must stop in the next two weeks.

“Petrol must be sold at the uniform price of N87 per litre everywhere in the country,” she said.

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