Nigerian Energy Company NNPC is relying heavily on swapping its crude for products such as gasoline as its refineries struggle to run, but an official at the state firm said its access to oil is limited.
While other importers also supply the nation with fuel, Nigeria caps its gasoline prices, preventing private importers from bringing the product in when international prices exceed local ones. The swap programme has accounted for as much as 90 percent of gasoline imports, industry sources told Reuters.
Henry Ikem-Obih, Group Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for downstream operations with NNPC said that the entire NNPC organisation is focused on ensuring that there are no queues and that the country stays wet. He added that it was the key objective, all the way from the president to the minister.
Ikem-Obih also said only the Port Harcourt refinery is currently running. The Warri refinery is expected to come back from maintenance within a few weeks, but the Kaduna plant will be down for a few more months.
He said the so-called direct sale, direct purchase deals that enable NNPC to exchange crude for imported fuels were keeping the country running, but that it was a “very painful task”, made more difficult by limited access to oil.