The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday announced that its subsidiary, NIDAS Shipping Services, had resumed the international shipment of crude oil and petroleum products, seven years after falling out of reckoning in the global oil freighting trade.
It also dispelled the rumour of an impending review of the pump prices of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
The corporation stated that the re-entry of its shipping services subsidiary was in tandem with the ongoing re-engineering of some the subsidiaries to ensure multiple income streams and value addition to the oil firm.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, explained that as a first step to regain its market position, NIDAS had established a chartering and operation desk in its office in the United Kingdom to help it secure sea-going vessels from the spot market in order to herald its market re-entry and foster strong competitive edge.
He said the company’s presence was already generating positive traction in the international freight space as global tanker fixture’s report last week acknowledged the chartering of LRI tanker, MV Atlantica Bridge, by NIDAS to load jet fuel from the El Dekheila Port, Egypt for delivery to Nigeria for Duke Oil.
The NNPC stated that the fixture report also captured NIDAS booking of tanker Res Cogitans to load Mercuria’s gasoline cargo for early November loading from Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp region to offshore Lagos.
The oil firm stated that as part of strategy to ensure effective participation in the entire supply value chain, NIDAS would optimise the right of first refusal offer in the NNPC annual crude oil term and Direct-Sale-Direct Purchase agreements with off-takers.
It stated that under the terms of the deal, the off-takers were obligated to offer the NNPC shipping subsidiary the right of first refusal in freighting of cargoes.
It said the long-term aspiration of the company was to own and operate fleet to secure a significant market share in the global shipping market.
Incorporated in 2007 as a Joint Venture between the NNPC, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company Limited, NIDAS is presently a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation.
The corporation noted that subsequently, a board of directors was inaugurated by the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, with Henry Ikem-Obih, NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, as the chairman, while Lawal Sade was appointed managing director, with the mandate to drive the turnaround process and effective re-entry strategy of NIDAS into the international oil shipping business.
On claims of possible PMS price hike, Ughamadu stated that contrary to the misinformation trending in the social media, the Federal Government had no plan to review the prices of white products either downward or upward.
He stated that this was despite the fact that the corporation, since October 2017, had been the sole importer of PMS into the country, as other oil marketing companies could not import due to the open market price being much higher than the N145 per litre official selling price.
“Yet, the government has no plan to review the market prices of products either upwards or downwards now,” Ughamadu said.
The corporation cautioned rumourmongers to be wary of the impact their act could cause on the prices of petroleum products, especially petrol, as the festive period draws near.
According to the oil firm, if this is left unchecked, the insinuation of unsubstantiated price review can lead to artificial scarcity and hoarding of products by consumers, which in turn may result in unnecessary queues and suffering of Nigerians at filling stations.
The NNPC spokesman urged members of the public to report any station selling petrol above the N145 recommended pump price to the offices of the Department of Petroleum Resources, adding that the department was authorised to monitor and regulate the industry’s activities.
He said the recent statement of the NNPC GMD that the corporation had 37 days’ stock of PMS subsisted, stressing that the corporation had mapped out strategies to ensure that Nigerians experience a hitch-free festive period.