DPR threatens marketers, as dealers sell above petroleum pump price

FUELShell to sack 6,500 workers, slash investments 

WITH more filling stations and depots selling the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) above the official pump price of N87.00 per litre, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has threatened to sanction any erring marketer caught selling in the act.

However, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has traced the continued scarcity of petroleum in some parts of the country to the failure of Capital Oil tank farm to supply members in the South West. Therefore, it urged the NNPC to stop sending allocation to it.

IPMAN President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, alleged in Abuja yesterday that Capital Oil has in the past eight weeks failed to supply its members who paid for the product, adding that instead, the owner of Capital Oil and Gas, Ifeanyi Ubah, is selling the products to black marketers.

In another development, Royal Dutch Shell has unveiled plans to sack about 6,500 employees as it strives to cushion the effects of the plummeting crude oil prices on the company.

The threat notwithstanding, The Guardian survey showed that a larger percentage of filling stations in Lagos and Ogun metropolis now sell between N100 and N110 per litre, while many have adjusted their pumps to shortchange unsuspecting buyers.

In a statement yesterday, however, the Director of DPR, Mordecai Ladan, expressed government’s displeasure at the illegal activity and the ever-growing vehicular queues at the filling stations.

According to him, preliminary investigations revealed that the prevailing hike in retail prices of PMS and DPK (kerosene) across the country followed the unscrupulous activities of some depot owners and major marketers who sell to various retailers at prices higher than the official ex-depot price of N77.66k and N34.51K respectively.

To check this, he said the DPR has resolved to take immediate steps to directly supervise the sale of products from the affected depots and ensure compliance with appropriate pricing.

This, he said, would involve the immediate suspension of direct sales of PMS and DPK to the affected depots and major marketers. It will as well set up a special taskforce on supervision and monitoring of product sales at the affected depots, with powers to undertake sale of products there, while the general public will be directed on guidelines on the enforcement of the supervised sales until normalcy returns.

Shell to sack 6,500 workers The energy and petrochemicals companies with about 93,000 employees in over 90 countries and territories around the world, including Nigeria, also recorded losses in its second quarter result, which was released yesterday, and has planned to cut down capital expenditure.

Updating shareholders and investors at a presentation in London yesterday, Shell Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden, said the company was anticipating a reduction of 6,500 staff and direct contractors this year. He disclosed that the company was preparing for a “prolonged downturn” by cutting thousands of jobs and slashing billions of dollars in investments over the next two years.

According to him, the 2015 capital investment would be about $30 billion, a reduction of $3 billion since the company’s last update in April, and $7 billion from 2014 levels, reflecting cost reductions, project cancellations and re-phasing of growth options. Refineries may end swap deals Meanwhile, there are indications that the oil swap by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will end when the nation’s three refineries resume operation.

According to him, the firm is yet to supply the over N2 billion worth of product that IPMAN has already paid for. He also accused Ubah of sponsoring the IPMAN crisis by supporting the factional President, Obasi Lawson.

While the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries have started test-run since two weeks ago, the Kaduna refinery is expected to resume refining in the next few weeks, which would reduce the swap deals as well as the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs), according to sources. Their combined refining capacity is close to the 445,000 barrels per day being presently taken out of the country for refining.

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