As efforts at ending the lingering fuel scarcity continued yesterday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed that the Port Harcourt Refinery has resumed production of five million litres of petrol daily.
The reopening of the nation’s largest refining outfit would be regarded as a major boost as the Federal Government continues the fight to end the crippling shortages that have now entered into its third month.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the NNPC, Garuba Deen Muhammad, told journalists during an inspection of some petrol stations in Abuja with the Executive Director, Supply and Distribution, Nigerian Petroleum Marketing Company (NPMC), Justine Ezeala, that normalcy in fuel supply would soon return.
According to him: “The Port Harcourt Refinery has being refining for quite a while now; from last week, between three and five million litres. We expect Kaduna to begin any time from now and we also have vessels discharging fuel and so, all these combined measures will bring down the situation.
“When you have this kind of situation, people will naturally get agitated but people are getting calm now because they know the supply gap has now been bridged and it is a question of distribution. They are all patient and that was what happened in Lagos. The situation has virtually normalised in Lagos because the motorists cooperated,” he said.
Muhammad claimed that the corporation had information that the problem in Abuja was being complicated by taxi drivers who have resorted to queuing up multiple times daily and selling their purchases to black marketers.
He said: “People always take advantage of situations and now we hear taxi drivers have taken advantage of the situation and they find it more profitable to join queues and round trip to sell to black market operators, rather than doing their businesses. We will need to devise means of stopping people from diverting and round tripping,”
On his part, Ezeala, who confirmed that the Port Harcourt Refinery was back on stream, as well as the activities of the taxi drivers, explained that the corporation had increased daily product truck-out to Abuja.
He said that Abuja and its environs got up to 204 trucks of petrol daily and should have no reason to still experience scarcity of petrol in its filling stations.