NIPC depot shutdown: Oil marketers threaten strike

Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company’s depot in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria has been shut down since Saturday, March 22, 2014 by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). The NIPC provides 30 per cent of the daily national demand and the shutdown is said to be worsening the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country because NIPC is handicapped without its Apapa depot.

The oil marketers in the country have now threatened to embark on a nationwide strike. This was announced on Monday, the 31st of March 2014. Speaking to the press in Lagos, the Chairman of Concerned Marketers, Mr. Abidemi Agunbiade confirmed that the continued closure of the depot would make the current scarcity of PMS much worse. He said the past nine days has caused NIPC a whole lot of losses and put many fuel stations in difficult positions as they had run dry. He also said that over 1000 marketers are being affected by the shutdown. He said these marketers had paid for PMS but cannot take possession of their property.

Several banks (running transactions with these marketers) are feeling the pinch as well. Agunbiade says that more than 45 million litres of petrol brought into the country for discharge at the NIPCO Apapa depot is being stalled. He said that there are about four vessels currently on the high sea, including a vessel of the NNPC, and the NIPC has to pay a daily demurrage of between $15,000 and $20,000 because the leadership of NUPENG has kept the Apapa depot shut.

The NIPCO’s own storage facilities is said to be holding about 80 million litres of PMS which it cannot discharge to marketers, and about 500 tankers have been waiting ever since for a chance to load up PMS to deliver to retail outlets which have plenty of thirst for the product to quench.

At press time about 83% of fuel stations in Lagos had no PMS for sale. Naturally, the price of the product has gone up and consumers have to pay more per litre.