Home Business & Economy Fuel scarcity, poor power supply may persist till May

Fuel scarcity, poor power supply may persist till May

Oil marketers have said that queues for petrol in major cities across the country will not disappear completely until May.
This is coming as motorists and other petrol seekers still formed queues in front of many filling stations that had the product in Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Kaduna, Niger, Imo, Enugu ,Rivers  and Nasarawa states.
The fuel queues, which had reduced in Lagos and the adjoining states last Monday, became longer last weekend  as many stations ran out of the supply.
Some members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria attributed the queues in many locations to the time taken to load trucks at depots.
One of the marketers that spoke on condition of anonymity said, “There is no way this situation will not drag on up until May. I say so because it takes about two weeks for vessels to come into Nigeria and today is already April 15 and we are made to understand that some vessels are coming.
“So, the May deadline, which the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, initially gave, is actually when we will see significant improvement. However, the funny thing is that people are beginning to adjust to the situation.”
However, the damaged Forcados Export Plant, which is the main cause of the worsening power outage being experienced by Nigerians, will not be completely repaired till May, the office of the Vice President has indicated.
The plant was sabotaged by militants in the Niger Delta.
According to a statement on Sunday by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the plant in Delta State where he sought expedited action on the repairs.
“The damage done to Forcados affects our oil earnings but also as important is the power aspect. It (Forcados)-is a major source of gas, about 40% of our gas supply is affected leading to the problem of power supply in the country,” Mr. Osinbajo was quoted as saying.
“The damage done to Forcados terminal is the chief reason for the poor power supply that has affected the country recently,” he added.
Mr. Osinbajo was, however, told that although the repairs had started, they would not be concluded until May. He was also briefed on palliative measures to provide gas to the affected power plants.
The statement reads” Concerned about both the loss of gas supply to power plants in the country and significant loss of potential revenue arising from the damaged Forcados Export Terminal, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for an expedited repair of the strategic terminal operated by Shell, and the activation of an alternative process to ameliorate the gas supply deficit.
Speaking over the weekend when he visited the Forcados Terminal in Delta State, Mr. Osinbajo accompanied by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about the damage done to the terminal in February and asked him to visit and assess the situation which has been responsible for the recent drop in electricity supply in the country.
The president is equally concerned that the gas projects under the disposal of Shell meant to beef up domestic supply of gas in the country needs to be speedily completed.
Mr. Osinbajo who met on Friday with top officials of Shell that runs the terminal and senior NNPC officials after they flew over the location of the terminal told the officials that “what is going on here affects the Nigerian people and the economy,” referring to the loss of gas supply to power plants and the loss of potential foreign exchange earning arising from the inability to produce over 250,000 barrels of oil per day, due to the damage done to the terminal.
“The damage done to Forcados affects our oil earnings but also as important is the power aspect. It (Forcados)-is a major source of gas, about 40% of our gas supply is affected leading to the problem of power supply in the country,” the Vice President said to Shell officials led by Country Chairperson, Osagie Okunbor, and NNPC officials led by Bello Rabiu, the Chief Operating Officer for Upstream.
Mr. Osinbajo said at a point few months ago power supply in the country had peaked at an unprecedented 5000MW, but now has dropped significantly including instances of system collapses, showing that this is “a real problem.”
According to him, “I came here on the instruction of the President who is concerned about the damage done to Forcados. I came here to see for myself and underscore the great implication for the nation’s economy. Many people don’t even know that power supply is hampered by what is going on here.”
A repair plan presented to the Vice President during the visit by Shell indicated that the repair work which is in three phases is about concluding its first phase with expectation that the repair would be concluded in May. Meanwhile, NNPC also presented an interim alternative plan to supply gas to the plants including trucking condensate.

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