There are strong indications that the national average price of petrol will rise further as marketers benchmark costs against rising exchange rates.
Marketers who spoke to our newsmen yesterday, against the backdrop of continued depreciation of the naira, said the implication would be that their cost has also increased beyond the figure used in fixing current pump prices.
The current national average pump price of N500 per litre was arrived at with an exchange rate of N661/$.
Already, findings indicate that most major oil marketers have adjusted their prices to N492-495 in Lagos, contrary to the N488 earlier positions floated by the industry shortly after the removal of subsidy was announced by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023.
Also in Lagos, most independent marketers have adjusted further to an average of N515, while outside Lagos the pump price has jumped to over N650.
The marketers said that with the closing rate at the Investors and Exporters, I&E, foreign exchange window since last week at about N770/$, the pump price is likely to hit N550 per litre by early next month.
Marketers begin importation
This comes as the marketers begin the process of importing the product under the new market regime.
But checks by our correspondent, yesterday, showed that as a result of the changes occasioned by forex, oil marketers are still finding the business environment very uncertain to raise funds for the importation of the product.
It showed that although a few oil marketers have started negotiating with the banks, such engagements were being scuttled by the current instability in the business environment.
But the oil marketers said they have not given up as efforts will be intensified to import commercial quantities of petrol. The first deliveries of 11 Plc, Ardova, and others are to arrive in mid-July
Commenting on the development, yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer, of Ardova Plc, who doubles as Chairman of MOMAN, Mr Olumide Adeosun, said: “It takes a little bit of time to arrange the forex, which still is not optimal at present.
“Then the logistics, availability of suitable vessels and other issues also affect operations. All the same, we expect to see some inflows from non-NNPC Limited sources in July 2023.’’ Also, commenting on prices, he said: “Prices may go up before they come down in any event.”
The Managing Director/CEO of 11 Plc, Adetunji Oyebanji, who was also a former chairman of MOMAN, confirmed planned moves by his company to import the product, stressing “it is likely to be towards the middle of July 2023.”
This means that major and independent oil marketers will still depend on NNPC Limited to bring in the product from the global market in at least the next month.
We have not started to import — IPMAN
Like major marketers, the National Operations Controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, who confirmed that members had not started importation, said: “We now need more funds to put into the business than before. Remember, the exchange rate of the naira has also increased from over N400/ a dollar to over N700/per dollar.
“We are currently discussing with the banks. It will take some time to conclude the various discussions before securing funds for the importation.”
No fixed price at depots — DAPPMAN
Meanwhile, the ex-depot price of petrol has risen tremendously in the past few weeks. Specifically, it indicated that from over N400 per litre, the ex-depot price of petrol has by yesterday, risen to N515 per litre, thus causing the pump price to rise further to over N500 per litre, from N488 in Lagos and environs.
In a telephone interview with the Executive Secretary of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Olufemi Adewole, said the depot owners were not compelled to maintain a particular price.
He said: “There is no uniform ex-depot price; each marketer, based on its individual market fundamentals, determines its own ex-depot price and any inefficient marketer loses customers because they’ll move to the cheaper, more efficient marketer.”
It was also learned that some oil marketers have cashed in on the instability in downstream to make brisk businesses, including pump manipulation and diversion to generate maximum profit.
The Chief Executive, of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed did not respond when TheEconomy reached out to him yesterday.
But the agency recently said it had issued licenses to six companies to commence fuel importation into the nation. Although the agency refused to make known the identity of the companies, it was gathered that Eterna Oil Plc, Emadeb and Asharami Energy are among the six granted licenses.