The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd, Mele Kyari, has said Russia-Ukraine war, COVID-19 pandemic are the causes of fuel crises across the country.
Kyari noted that in addition to these issues, there is no single refinery working at the moment in the country.
He made this known when he appeared before the House of Representatives joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The committee is said to be investigating the increased in prices of diesel and cooking gas
With the recent hike in price of fuel and its scarcity, he mentioned that the country’s refineries were not working at the moment, adding that the situation was regrettable.
Noting that the NNPC is taking actions to bring the refineries back to work, he said, “We have decided to do a quick fix for Warri refinery.”
According to him, “The refineries will not come back tomorrow, there is a process going on.”
He said that no one could guarantee the security of petroleum supply, adding that countries are preserving excess volume that they had in their kitty because of the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The world has never seen this kind of uncertainty, today countries are stockpiling products. Shortly before COVID-19 the world was already facing shortfall of 3 million barrel of supply of oil.”
He mentioned that there has been no control to manage the energy crisis across the world, stressing that “to guarantee energy security means you just make product available at anytime and by any cost.”
Kyari also disclosed that over 200 refineries have been operating illegally across the country.
The NNPC boss, who said the solution is to restore crude oil production, stated that there is a massive intervention ongoing and by the end of July, “We will restore production to a level that is reasonable. Many European countries are asking for rationing gas, they are asking people to alternate their Air Conditioning.
“Today, countries are toying with subsidy because prices are so high because they don’t think they can manage inflation associated with it,” he added.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum, Mr Farouk Ahmed, said the current geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and Russia has resulted in the increase of petroleum product.
Ahmed noted that this was because Russia was one of the major producer, recalling that the war has affected petroleum products and all nations across the world, in which Nigeria is not an exemption.
He mentioned that the landing cost of petroleum product was also a factor, adding that the high cost was not limited to Nigeria.
“We need to see what can be done to alleviate the suffering of the people. If our refineries are back on stream and make foreign exchange available at the official rate of N400 per dollar. And if our refineries come back we can then get a reprieve. We also need to address the issue of vandalism,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Downstream, Rep. Abdullahi Gaya, noted that Nigeria has refining capacity but due to the functioning of none of her refineries, it has led the country to her sorry state currently.
Gaya said there is need to find solution to the high cost of diesel and cooking gas in a bid to cushion the effect on the generality of Nigerians.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke said concerns have continued to increase on the plight of Nigerians as many of them have a minimum wage of N30,000.
They said Nigeria may eventually have to go the way of other nations by subsidising cooking gas.