Marketers deny scarcity of aviation fuel amid rising demand, prices
Though there are indications that the demand for aviation fuel has risen by about 50 per cent in recent days as against supply, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPMAN), yesterday, said the country has enough stock of the product.
The marketers insisted that the country has over 80million litres, which is enough to meet the needs of airline operators and other consumers of the product.
For instance, the spokesperson of NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, stated that the assurance became necessary to douse rumours in certain quarters that there was shortage of aviation fuel in the country.
Similarly, MOMAN’s Executive Secretary, Clement Isong, urged airlines and air travellers not to panic over aviation fuel scarcity, as its members have product in stock and have increased distribution.
Findings by The Guardian, however, showed that though the import of the Jet-A fuel is deregulated, implying that oil marketers are allowed to ship in the product and sell based on market reality, even as the prices of the product is on the rise due to high demand.
Based on antecedents, the demand for aviation fuel in the country peaks during Muslim hajj mission, the recent visit of Muslims to Saudi Arabia may have contributed to the present scarcity.
It would be recalled that transportation of Nigerian pilgrims from Saudi Arabia has been disrupted due to scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in the domestic market.
Sources at the Apapa Depot in Lagos and Suleja Depot in Niger State told The Guardian, that marketers have been struggling to meet up with surge in demand.
“Most marketers are low on Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) or jet fuel. Some major marketers are currently relying on third parties to meet their demand. There is at least, almost 50 per cent increase in demand,” a source, who pleaded anonymity, said.
The source, said the development has already increased the price of the products to about N270 per litre from about N220 noting that most marketers were supplying the products to International airlines operators, thereby increasing the burden for local operators.
“We (MOMAN) have also increased loading at our facilities at airports across the country including our Joint Users Hydrant Installation at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.
“We also have stock at our import reception facilities at Apapa and we are working with the NNPC to ensure continuous import supply of the product. I, therefore, say that there is no need for panic or disquiet with respect to product supply,” Isong said.
When contacted, Executive Secretary of DAPMAN, Olufemi Adewole, said the product is available across the country.
“To the best of my knowledge, the product is readily available however since it is deregulated, price is determined by market forces,” he said.
NNPC said contrary to insinuations of shortage, there is a stock of over 80 million litres of aviation fuel in its storage, enough to last for over 37 days at current daily consumption, even if more cargoes of the product were not imported within the period.
NNPC, therefore, enjoined airline operators and other consumers of the product to discountenance the rumours and go about their businesses without fear or distraction.
Some airline operators had decried scarcity of the product, stressing that the development has led to increase in the price of air tickets.
Chief Executive Officer of Skypower Express Airlines, Muhammed Joji, had reportedly told journalists that nothing less than 265 pilgrims who were supposed to be airlifted by the carrier were stranded in Saudi Arabia over scarcity of aviation fuel.