THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it has supplied 38.7 million litres of Jet A1 also known as Aviation fuel to the market to ensure a hitch-free air travel across the country during and after the Christmas period.This is just as Minister of State Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, has assured air travelers of Government’s commitment to end the lingering aviation fuel scarcity facing the nation’s aviation industry.
Speaking at separate forums, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed the Jet A1 supply in Abuja, stating that the step was taken to ameliorate shortage of the product, a situation that had recently led to reported cases of flight delays and cancellations across the nation’s airports.
Dr. Baru said in the build-up to the yuletide period, the Corporation had exceeded the demand of marketers with plans to obviate the hardship been faced by airlines to access the product which has in turn affected passengers.
He explained that the NNPC had imported about 38.7million litres of aviation fuel which represented about 26-day sufficiency.
“Specifically on December 14, 2016, the Corporation completed the discharge of 8,800 metric tonnes which represented about 10.6 million litres to major terminals in the country.
“In addition, as at this morning (December 19, 2016), 23,500 metric tonnes which represented about 28.2million litres was being discharged to the major oil terminals.
“In order to sustain the tempo, the Corporation had also secured the supply of additional 30,000 metric tonne vessel of aviation turbine kerosene which represented about 36million litres expected to berth Nigerian shores before the end of the year,” he said.
He also stated the “NNPC has over 40-day sufficiency for premium motor spirit and adequate volumes of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Automotive Gas Oil to satisfy national demand throughout the yuletide period and beyond.”
He assured that the corporation would sustain the drive towards ensuring availability of petroleum products at all times.
Briefing newsmen on Monday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Minister of state Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed that measures had been put in place to ensure availability of the product.
According to the Minister, the scarcity was occasioned by the fact that the country does not produce JetA1 locally, adding that the scarcity of foreign exchange had made the importation of the product difficult.
He disclosed that the ministry was collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make it easy for importers to bring in the product in the short-term.
He explained that the long-term plan was that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were working tirelessly to commence the refining of the product locally.
“The CBN has assured us that they would do the best they can to make the Forex necessary and available for our people especially in this festive time and so also NNPC. I visited NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources three times each in the course of the last eight months and they assured us that they would start refining Jet A1 in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.
Sirika said, “ The challenge is to make this JetA1 available in the country, and this is to assure the general public that we are doing the best that we can to ensure that the product is available within the country. The government is not unaware, we are doing our best as we crave your patience to understand the situation and also to plead for you to further endure while we are sure it will be shot term,’’ he said.
On the recent congestion at the nation’s airports especially in Lagos and Abuja, the Minister said it was caused by cancellation of flights due to the non-availability of fuel corroborating airlines’ attribution on their delays to same aviation fuel shortage and the rising price of the product with some airlines buying as high as N270 per litre for the product that was pegged as N197 at the same time last year.
However, with this recent intervention by the NNPC , it is expected that airlines without other challenges can get jet A1 and ferry their passengers seamlessly.