Abuja and its surrounding areas experienced lengthy queues at petrol stations yesterday amid speculation of a potential increase in pump prices,leadership reports.
Investigations by LEADERSHIP revealed that numerous independent marketers have already raised the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, to as high as N650 per litre. This has created a notable price disparity with major marketers, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, which continues to sell petrol at N617 and N613 per litre, respectively.
The substantial price difference prompted motorists to flock to stations still offering petrol at the previous rates, particularly NNPC retail stations, resulting in extensive queues.
Despite concerns about a potential petrol scarcity, NNPC sought to allay fears. The Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye, explained to LEADERSHIP that the current situation is essentially a price war, a characteristic of competitive markets. He clarified that while NNPC Retail sells at N613 in Abuja, other marketers’ prices range from N625 to N650.
NNPC has regained prominence as a major petrol importer, given the challenges faced by independent marketers due to foreign exchange shortages and naira depreciation. The national oil company is also a significant retailer.
The queue situation led to traffic congestion along Olusegun Obasanjo Way in Wuse, where NNPC stations had long queues of cars waiting to refuel. The Mobil Filling Station in Utako also experienced queues, even though it sold petrol at N640 per litre, while the ETERNA fuel station in Jabi remained closed.
Similar scenes unfolded on Airport Road, with lengthy queues at stations such as BOVAS, SALBAS OIL, AA Rano, and SHEMA. At AA Rano in Jabi, only one fuel pump was dispensing, and the station gate was locked to control entry.
Reports indicate that queues began forming on Friday when some stations started selling petrol at N630 and N640. There are rumors suggesting an impending pump price increase to N700 per litre.
Farouk Ahmed, the CEO of NMDPRA, had previously assured that there was sufficient petrol stock in the country, according to NNPC. However, independent marketers with import licenses expressed challenges accessing the official dollar price, making it more expensive for them to import, and they asserted that the current pump price is not profitable compared to NNPC’s subsidized import.