The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has cut down the number of oil marketing and trading companies (OM&Ts) to be involved in the importation of premium motor spirit or petrol into the country, licensing only 32 companies in the first quarter of this year. This is a reduction of six from the 38 companies that obtained the import permits in the last quarter of last year.
The participating companies include: the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Aiteo Energy, Ascon Oil, Avidor Oil and Gas, A-Z Petroleum, Bovas, Conoil Plc, Dee Jones Petroleum and Gas, Dozzy Oil and Gas, Folawiyo Energy, Fresh Synergy Ltd and Forte Oil Plc.
Others are: First Deepwater Discovery Ltd, Gulf Treasure Ltd, Heyden Petroleum, Ibafon Ltd, Integrated Oil and Gas Industries, IPMAN Refining and Marketing Ltd, Mobil Oil Plc., MRS Oil and Gas Ltd, MRS Oil Plc., NIPCO Plc., Northwest Petroleum & Gas Ltd, Oando Plc., Obat Petroleum Ltd, RainOil Ltd, Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas, Sahara Energy Ltd, Shorelink Oil Ltd, Swift Oil Ltd, Techno Oil Ltd and Total Nigeria Plc.
According to the document from PPPRA, the NNPC also got the highest allocation while Oando topped the major marketers’ list with 150,000 metric tonnes (mts) allocated to it. Mobil, MRS Oil Nig, MRS Oil and Gas and Forte Oil got allocated 60,000mts each.
Among the independent marketers, NIPCO and Folawiyo Energy were atop the list with 120,000mts followed by Techno Oil and Total with 90,000mts and Shorelink and RainOil with 80,000mts and 75,000mts respectively.
Also, Rahamaniyya and Sahara got allocation of 60,000mts each while Ascon, Bovas, Swift Oil and Deejones each got allocated 45,o00mts. Dozzy Oil and Gulf Treasure got approval for 30,000mts while Fresh Synergy got 15,000mts.
The Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr Reginald Stanley confirmed the number of marketers and the reduction from 38 in the last import regime to 32 in the first quarter import regime. He explained that the number was reduced to make sure marketers who might have been indicted or under investigation for subsidy fraud were not given permits to import petrol. He however refused to comment on the volumes allocated to marketers.
He said the selection of the marketers on the list was determined by factors such as demonstrable capacity to finance the imports as well as the track record of the marketers.
The last quarter of 2011 saw the number of marketers importing petrol hit a high of 128. Ever since, according to Stanley, the PPPRA has worked hard at bringing down the number. It was down to 42 by the second quarter of 2012, then 39 in the third quarter and finally 38 by the last quarter of the year.
He said the PPPRA target was to reduce the number of petrol importers to 20, as this would help stem abuses in the subsidy scheme.
The companies that were denied allocation in the first quarter of this year have been revealed to include Masters Energy, Matrix Energy, Spog Petrochemical and Capital Oil and Gas Industries whose facilities had been shut down over its indebtedness to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
It had been previously reported that some of the companies indicted for various abuses by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Subsidy Payments headed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc., Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhede were among the 38 firms licensed to import petrol for the fourth quarter of last year.
A source in the presidency had explained that some of the indicted marketers had been included in the fourth quarter import list due to their excellent performance in the past and could not have been denied due to unproven allegations against them.
The source also revealed that of the 39 OM&Ts granted permits to import petrol in the third quarter of 2012, less than 10 per cent of the volumes was allocated to 20 companies.