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Major marketers demand more fuel as depots’ stock drops

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In an attempt to put an end to the fuel scarcity that has lingered for about two weeks across the country, petroleum marketers on Sunday advised the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to continue its emergency fuel supply for another two weeks.

This came as the NMDPRA disclosed that about 4,000 trucks laden with Premium Motor Spirit departed Lagos depots for filling stations in various states over the weekend to supply the product.

The Federal Government had, through the NMDPRA, on Wednesday said it began a 15-day emergency fuel supply last week Monday to ensure the commodity circulates across the length and breadth of the country.

The government also disclosed that vessels importing PMS would continue to berth at the shore to discharge fuel to different depots, from where the product would be distributed to different filling stations.

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In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the South-West Regional Coordinator of the NMDPRA, Ayo Cardoso, said no fewer than 300 million litres of petrol were loaded at various depots in Lagos between Friday and Sunday to reduce the queues in filling stations.

However, it appears the queues have yet to ease off to an appreciable level as many filling stations remain shut in Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Oyo and others due to lack of fuel supply.

Our correspondents report that in some areas where the product was available, marketers sold for as high as N1,000 per litre, thereby causing long queues in stations selling for prices around N600.

Though marketers confirmed that the government was making efforts to reduce the queues in filling stations by ramping up fuel supply, they held that the emergency supply must continue for the next two weeks until the product is available in all the nooks and crannies of the country.

In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the Executive Secretary of the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, said the depots and filling stations in the country were currently operating from the bottom of their reservoirs, saying more has to be done to ensure the tanks were filled up.

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According to data obtained from the NMDPRA, it was gathered that as of Saturday, a total of 118 million litres of PMS was discharged from different vessels to marketers; being over 2,600 trucks if conveyed by 45,000-litre capacity tankers.

According to the data, Fatgbems Petroleum received 13,688,420 litres from the SL Aremu vessel. From Binta Saleh, A.A. Rano Oil and Gas got 27,485,750 litres, while STI Yorkville discharged 49,069,623 litres of PMS to NIPCO, Total, 11 Plc and NRL, through the ASPM jetty.

Also, MT Watson discharged a total of 27,295,511 litres to Bono Energy and Asharami.

According to the promise of the NMDPRA that vessels would continue to berth for 15 days, Cardoso told our correspondent that the vessels were discharging the product for onward delivery to retail outlets across the nation.

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At Cluster 1 in Apapa on Saturday, it was said that AITEO was allocated 23 trucks; MRS, 49 trucks; OVH/NRL, 45 trucks; NIPCO, 61 trucks of PMS, and 11 Plc, 77 trucks. Others include Ardova and Total JV.

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Our correspondent gathered that the Total terminal in Apapa was programmed to receive the product from Golden Dahlia, from where HOGL Energy also received PMS on Saturday.

At Cluster 2 in Ibafon, T-Time Petroleum reportedly got 25 trucks, containing 1,196,000 litres of PMS, while Fatgbems received 20 trucks containing 780,000 litres of the product.

Eighteen trucks of 598,000 litres were allocated to Techno Oil and Bono received 32 trucks of 1,535,000 litres. MRS Limited also got 170 trucks of 8 million litres from Ibafon.

Similarly, at Cluster 3 in Ijegun, the Pinnacle Oil and Gas was allocated 312 trucks and A.A. Rano got 129 trucks of PMS, 111 trucks of which were loaded on Friday.

Theheute reliably gathered that 128,236 metric tonnes of PMS, about 170 million litres, was awaiting haulage as of Saturday. The haulage was meant to be carried out by MT Keonamex, 20,172MT; MT Stena Immaculata, 18,955MT and MT STI Stability 89,109MT.

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On Sunday, Cardoso informed our correspondent that T-Time Petroleum loaded 20 trucks of 1,000,000 litres; Fatgbems got 42 trucks of 1,850,000 litres; Techno Oil received nine trucks of 347,001 litres; Bono Energy, 22 trucks of 1,004,000 litres, while MRS Ltd loaded 180 trucks, being 8,500,000 litres of petrol.

In all, it was gathered that about 4,000 trucks of PMS flooded filling stations between Friday and Sunday.

Cardoso disclosed that six PMS vessels berthed across six jetties on Sunday, four out of which discharged a total of 187 million litres of PMS.

“The remaining two vessels that will hopefully commence after completion of the protocol prescribed in the SOP for Jetty Operations are laden with approximately 150 million litres,” he said.

The NMDPRA regional coordinator said he and his team have been on the field to ensure even distribution of the products, assuring Nigerians that PMS would soon get to all filling stations.

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While warning against panic buying, Cardoso said the agency would continue to monitor the situation to ensure strict compliance.

Ex-depot prices

Cardoso also released the ex-depot prices of the product, which ranged from N556 per litre to N645.

The ex-depot price is the price of a product, in this case, petrol, at the depot or storage facility where it is held before being transported to filling stations.

In other words, the ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers or distributors at the depot, excluding the cost of transportation, taxes, and other charges. It is the wholesale price of the product before it reaches the consumer.

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Other additional costs, such as transportation, taxes, and profit margins, are added to the ex-depot price to determine the final retail price paid by consumers at the pump.

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According to the data supplied by Cardoso, the NNPC Retail has the lowest ex-depot price of N556/litre, followed by OVH/NRL at N556.5/litre.

Others are 11 Plc, N599; NIPCO, N623; AITEO, N589.50; MRS Plc, N598; Ardova, N585; T-Time Petroleum, N610; Fatgbems, N597; Techno Oil, N600 and Bono Energy, N645/litre.

Marketers seek supply

Speaking with our correspondent, the MEMAN Executive Secretary, Isong, expressed the belief that there was an increase in supply, adding that the queues will disappear if the government keeps the tempo.

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He explained, “I think the tanks were really down. So, when you restore supply, the queues will disappear. There are five reservoirs of petrol; the last reservoir is the one in the tank of a car. You can operate from the top or bottom of your tank. In the recent past, petrol stations have been operating from the bottom of their tanks. If a petrol station has two 45,000-litre tanks and it has only five or 10,000 litres, it is operating from the bottom of its tank. That is the second reservoir.

“The third reservoir is what they call ‘goods-in-transit’. If the supply chain is working correctly, then at any point in time, we should have a thousand trucks on the road delivering products. That is another reservoir, the same thing for the pipelines. If the pipeline is full, that is another reservoir. That is the transportation.”

He added, “After that, we have the depots. If the depots are full, that is the biggest reservoir you have. We then have the vessels, whether it is the mother vessel or daughter vessel. That is another couple of million litres. Sometimes, if the cut in your supply chain is such that one of those reservoirs is empty, it will not be too difficult to come back. But in a world in which all your reservoirs are already operating from the bottom of the tanks; people don’t have enough in their tanks, you don’t have enough goods in transit, you don’t have enough in the tanks of the filling stations, you don’t have enough in the depots over some time; when you have this kind of challenge of scarcity, you really need to flood the market with 150 to 200 per cent of the normal supply for two to three weeks so that everything fills up.”

Isong emphasised that the filling stations needed to be full, saying there were times in filling stations when trucks would be waiting to discharge because the underground tanks were still full.

“When you have that, it means you have filled up your complete supply chain. But where everything is just at the bottom of the tank, if one thing goes wrong, the entire supply chain dries up again. I think that is the stage that we’ve got to. We need to ramp up supply significantly in the country to about 200 per cent for about two weeks so that the entire supply chain becomes robust again. That way, we can avoid this sort of challenge,” the MEMAN leader stated.

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Fillings stations shut

Meanwhile, some filling stations in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, closed their shops due to the non-availability of PMS.

It was also observed that taxi drivers refused to buy from stations willing to sell the products at a rate they considered to be too exorbitant.

This hike in price had however, caused motorists to queue for long hours at a few filling stations such as the NNPC at MKO Abiola Junction as well as its Fowobi outlet, where the product was sold for N600/litre.

Our correspondents report that black marketers were still taking advantage of the situation to make brisk business as they sold for between N1,000 and N1,500/litre.

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Commercial drivers in the state capital told our correspondent that some of them slept at the few filling stations selling below N700.

When one of our correspondents visited some fuel stations along the Ikotun-Idimu-Egbeda axis, it was observed that two fuel station outlets belonging to the NNPC Retail along the College Bus Stop were selling.

Our correspondents report that one of the NNPCL outlets on the same axis that witnessed a very long queue was selling the product for N680/litre, while the other one with no queues was selling for N840/litre.

An attendant at the outlet that was selling for N840, who gave her name simply as Mary, said, “We are independent marketers, so everyone is selling according to how they bought. The other outlet is a major marketer that is why it is selling for N680/litre”.

Our correspondents report that queues persist in petrol Stations owned by major marketers in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Sunday.

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It was observed that long queues of vehicles were common in stations such as NNPC, Total, MRS and Conoil. However, the supply of fuel in the town has improved as stations owned by the major marketers sold PMS between N580 and N650/litre.

Some independent marketers including Amorry, MKJ, Neemam and Tigress were selling fuel for an average of N1,000/litre as vehicles moved in and out of the stations freely without experiencing any delay.

In Sokoto State, the scarcity of petroleum continued as of Sunday, with one litre selling at the rate of N1,150 naira in most of the filling stations.

One of our correspondents who monitored the situation in the state on Sunday gathered that none of the major marketers in the metropolis dispensed the product.

It was observed that almost all the independent oil marketers in the state opened for business, selling a litre of PMS above N1,000. Also, black marketers sold the product for N1,400/litre on Sunday.

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Nigerians have continued to appeal to the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to take urgent actions to put an end to the fuel scarcity, which they said is already inflicting more hardships on them.

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Port Harcourt refinery begins operation July

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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port-Harcourt refinery may finally commence operations by the end of July after several postponements.

The new date was disclosed on Monday by the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu.

He stated that the development would stimulate economic activities, reduce the price of petroleum products and ensure adequate supply.

Last year in December, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the biggest crude refinery in Port Harcourt.

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The refineries comprise two units, with the old plant having a refined capacity of 60,000 barrels per day and the new plant has 150,000 BPD.

The refinery shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repair works after the government secured the service of a technical adviser of Itay’s Maire Tecnimont to handle the reviews of the refinery complex, with oil major Eni appointed technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, it was reported that the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, stated that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operations in about two weeks.

The NNPC boss disclosed this during a press briefing after he appeared before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

He said, “We did a mechanical completion of the refinery that was what we said in December. We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in two weeks.”

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However, the machinery had yet to begin operations two months after he made the promise.

In an exclusive interview on Monday, the IPMAN official stated that the work done represented a complete turnaround, not just rehabilitation, emphasising that every effort would be made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “Yes when we visited the place, the MD told us that the refinery was almost ready and by the end of July, they would start producing. It has been turned into a new one they changed all the armoured cable to brand new and everything there is almost like a brand-new refinery.

“The turnaround on maintenance is very massive and the job is being done day and night. All hands are on deck to make sure that they meet that target. By ending of July the refinery should be ready.”

When reminded of several promises by the government to kick start the project, Ukadike replied, “Yes, there have been delays but they didn’t tell us any reason for the delay of the last deadline given in April.

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“They are not facing any challenges at all; I can say the refinery is 99 per cent ready.

“What we want is competition. I am very sure that with the two refineries, the price of petrol will be reduced. Dangote is coming soon and the Port Harcourt refinery is almost ready too and that is very good. We need that competition for the benefit of the nation.”

The new timeline coincides with a proposal by the Dangote Refinery to commence petrol production by ending of next month (June).

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The Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, while speaking at the Africa CEO forum annual summit in Kigali, assured Nigerians that following the laid-down plans of the Dangote Refinery, Nigeria would no longer need to import petrol starting next month.

According to him, the refinery can meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand.

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With an average monthly consumption of 1 billion litres, Nigeria currently spends approximately N520bn on the importation of PMS every month.

This means the government may cut approximately N6.2tn yearly import bill.

Commenting, the NNPCL Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Femi Soneye, said regulatory approvals from international bodies were the only impediment stalling the operational commencement of the refinery.

Soneye in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Monday reiterated that mechanical completion had been achieved, and all pipes were operating flawlessly, transporting crude oil supplied by Shell.

He said, “We have said that the mechanical completion has been done and every other thing is done. There is crude oil and all the pipes are working; we are only waiting for regulatory approvals. Like I said, some of our materials and the things we use have to do with nuclear and we need the nuclear authorities to give us approval to use all those things at the site.

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“And some of these approvals come from bodies outside of Nigeria. Until they give us those approvals, we can’t begin operations. We are ready to go but if something happens without it, which would be another issue. Everything has been completed in terms of our work, and once we get those approvals, it will start operations.”

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Real estate firm approves N14.50 dividend

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SFS Real Estate Investment Trust says it will pay N14.50 per share as dividends to its shareholders for 2023.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SFS Capital Nigeria Limited, Patrick Ilodianya, disclosed this during the company’s general meeting held on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Ilodianya, the SFS Real Estate Investment Trust, formerly known as Skye Shelter Fund, a subsidiary of SFS Capital Nigeria, witnessed a 70 per cent growth in net income to N317.5m in 2023 from N186.6m in the prior year.

“Concurrently, we observed a growth in dividend payouts of 71.60 per cent, nearly doubling,” he stated.

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The managing director explained that despite encountering challenging market conditions, SFS REIT consistently delivered dividends every year since its inception.

“In 2023, SFS REIT is proposing a dividend of N14.50 per share, marking this the highest dividend ever distributed in the Fund’s 17-year history.

“To contextualise these achievements, consider an investor who acquired SFS REIT shares on January 1, 2023, at a share price of N77.00. This investor would witness a capital appreciation of N24.35 per share (31.62 per cent), with the current share price standing at N101.35 per share.

“The overwhelming demand for shares has rendered them currently unavailable for purchase, as demand far exceeds supply. A dividend payout of N14.50 per share translates to an 18.83 per cent return compared to the share price on January 1, 2023, resulting in an estimated total return of over 50 per cent annually,” Ilodianya enunciated.

He spoke further that SFS REIT had invested in multiple units within organised and efficiently managed residential estates along the expanding Lekki corridor.

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He listed some notable investments, including Milverton Court Estate, Victoria Crest V Estate, Sapphire Gardens Estate, Maben Phase 2 Estate, Bourdillon Court Estate, Victory Park Estate, and Cromwell Court Estate.

He added that real estate returns remain stable while adjusting to inflation and consistently appreciating under skilled fund managers.

“Within SFS REIT, our Average Occupancy rate exceeds 98 per cent, while the average rental default rate remains below 1.5 per cent. Over the years, we have implemented various Proptech initiatives aimed at optimising rent collection, increasing occupancy rates, and reducing default occurrences.

“Leveraging technology, we have streamlined our property acquisition and disposal processes, enhanced tenant sourcing and appraisal procedures, automated entry/access control, and facilitated electricity vending.

“With 17 years of experience under our belt, SFS Capital Nigeria Limited remains exceedingly optimistic about the future. Positioned strategically, we are poised to implement innovative strategies to expand the fund and enhance its yield. While our current dividend payout of N14.50 per share represents the pinnacle in the history of REITs, we anticipate no decline. Instead, we envision SFS REIT continuing to deliver higher dividends in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.

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Cement price 69% higher in Nigeria than India – Reps C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the arbitrary increase in the price of cement in Nigeria has lamented the cost of the commodity, compared to what obtains in other African countries.

Recall that on March 13, 2024, the House resolved to investigate the incessant increase in the price of cement following the adoption of the motion co-sponsored by Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

On February 13, the Federal Government and cement manufacturers agreed to peg the price of a 50kg bag of cement between N7,000 and N8,000.

At the public hearing on the subject matter on Tuesday organized by the House Joint Committee in Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Gaza Gbefwi said there’s a need to address the situation, noting that in most African countries, the price of cement is lower compared to what obtains in Nigeria.

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He said, “Our findings showed that the price of cement is 69 per cent higher in Nigeria than in India, 39 per cent higher in Nigeria than in Zambia and 29 per cent higher than in Kenya given the official exchange rate.”

Speaking at the event, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, assured the manufacturers that the public hearing was not intended to witch-hunt them but an avenue to prefer solutions to the challenges affecting the housing sector, particularly the high cost of cement across the country.

…Details later

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