Fuel queues are becoming a thing of the past — at least for now — but the most used product among underprivileged Nigerians is hardly available at the official price of N150 per litre.
A special nationwide survey by TheCable shows that kerosene, solely produced or imported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), could go for as high as N500 per litre in some places.
This is because it is hardly available at official outlets — an indication that the commodity is being diverted to the black market where the sellers are making a kill.
In this report, the second in the series, TheCable Petrobarometer presents findings from Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Rivers and Yobe states.
The first in the series covered Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, FCT, Imo, Jigawa and Kaduna.
Petrol could sell for as low as N142 in Kano or as high as N200 in the never-disappearing black market, but there is only a slight difference in the prices paid for kerosene.
Kerosene is priced at N200 at most retail outlets and N205 by the roadside.
Motorists in Kano state are heaving a sigh with vanishing of long queues, especially within the metropolis.
A majority of the filling stations belonging to both major and independent marketers within Kano city sell petrol at N145 per litre.
Some filling stations such as AA Rano petroleum, Azman oil, Aliko Oil, Mobil, located along Airport Road in the metropolis, sell at N143/litre.
A motorist, Muhammad Saleh, expressed delight.
“We suffered a lot. We passed night at filling stations many times. It was difficult, but we thank God it is now over. We are happy,” he told TheCable.
The long queues for petrol have also disappeared in Katsina, and the price is between N143 and N145 per litre.
Kerosene goes for N200-N205 at official outlets and N210 in the black market.
The NNPC station in Katsina city sells petrol at N143 per litre, while only two of the filling stations, AA Rano and Shema, sell kerosene at N205 and N210 respectively.
The black market for petrol is still booming, nonetheless.
A gallon of petrol is sold at N750 while in other areas such as Kofar Marusa and Kofar Kwaya the product is sold at N800 per gallon.
There are four litres in a gallon.
Nigeria’s economic capital presents an interesting side to the story, with TheCable discovering the existence of cartels at the depots.
Though Lagos is seen as an “urban” state, a significant number of residents still depend on kerosene for cooking.
At some outlets, kerosene is quoted for as low as N83 and as high as N205, but it is only available at the black market for between N220 and N300, depending on the season.
The average retail price of petrol among marketers is N145 while NNPC sells for N143 across its outlets.
Even with improved petrol supply, black market peddlers lurk around filling stations in remote areas to sell at higher prices.
There is scarcity of kerosene in Lagos currently as most of the filling stations do not sell at all.
At official outlets, kerosene is sold at between N175 and N200, but goes for between N210 and N230 in black market.
Petrol is sold at the official price but black market still exists.
Most filling stations in Keffi appear deserted. The petrol attendants were sitting by the dispensing machines, chatting away their time or sleeping.
One would initially think there is no fuel, but it is apparently the “over-availability” of fuel that has slowed down sales at most stations.
At the NNPC filling station in Keffi, a female salesperson said “we have no kerosene”, because “the company did not lift it for a long time”.
The black market at Lafia is shrinking. Displayed at different quarters along the Jos- Makurdi road were haphazardly arranged yellow, petrol-stained kegs of various litres, but no customers.
Mumini, a dealer, said he sells petrol at N160 per litre “but it is not moving like before”.
According to data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the average price per litre of kerosene in Ogun state was N425.44 in February.
But when TheCable visited some stations in Ogun state, kerosene was largely unavailable even with high demand for it.
An attendance at the NNPC mega station in the Kuto area of Abeokuta, Ogun state, said kerosene was not available because they had not received supply since “over six months ago”.
The NNPC sells for N150 per litre when the product is available, but the few other stations who sell retail for around N190.
None of the black market sellers were seen selling in the area.
At the Oando filling station in Alakuko, a border town between Ogun and Lagos state, kerosene has not been sold there in the last three years.
A visit to two other locations in the state in the search for kerosene yielded no fruit.
Just opposite the Port Harcourt refinery, at the entrance of Okrika town in Rivers state, is an array of women and men with different sizes of flat-sided containers filled with petroleum products, mostly diesel, kerosene and petrol.
In this part of the Niger Delta, one can get a litre of petrol, from vendors by the roadside, for as low as N100 as against the N145 pump price.
Motorists, motorcyclists, and even buyers who come to get petrol in gallons for their generators are regular visitors of Hilary, the middle-aged man, whose rack is located by the pipes running into the refinery opposite him.
“We get our supply, mostly from the river,” Hilary told TheCable. “But, on Mondays and Wednesdays when the products are released via these pipes, boys tap into the valves and we also get products from here.”
Crude oil stolen by suspected militants are moved to the creeks where they are refined with less sophisticated technology, and the products are brought to the riverbanks where Hilary and many others in same business with him buy at far lesser prices.
Kerosene goes for N195-N200 at official outlets, but it is cheaper to buy at the black market at between N150 and N180. You know why.
Yobe is one of the poorest states in Nigeria, and things can only get harder for the people as they buy kerosene at N400 per litre – even though retail outlets display N150.
Petrol is available for N143-N145, and the black market price range of N150-N160 is in line with the current season of stable product supply.
Stations such as Ngelzelma Oil, Total Filling station, Abai Garmawa NIG limited, B.A Malum petroleum, Alhaji Abudllahi Ladan and Sons sell petrol at N145 per litre.
Mustapha Lawal, the manager of NNPC Mega Station, said the station had dispensed over 160,000 liters of petrol in one week.
“I cannot say kerosene is scarce, but we did not request for it because people don’t usually patronise the product much here in Yobe,” he said.