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NLNG, marketers assure Nigerians of cooking gas availability

The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), have reassured Nigerians of the continuous availability and price stability of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) otherwise known as cooking gas.

This reassurance became necessary after several days of detention of an NLNG gas vessel “Navigator Capricorn by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety agency (NIMASA) due to issues surrounding an alleged violation of the Cabotage Act.

The NLNG chartered vessel according to the company’s Manager of Communication and Public Affairs, Andy Odey, was released and commenced loading to Lagos last week Tuesday and Wednesday.

Odey confirmed the departure of the vessel on Sunday from Bonny, saying that there shouldn’t be any worry or concerns over cargo not being delivered because it is expected in Lagos this week, as it takes two days to journey from Bonny.

He wasn’t precise about which day of the week the vessel was likely to arrive Lagos, but he disclosed that it was carrying 13,000 metric tonnes of gas, hence there shouldn’t be scarcity of cooking gas.

Meanwhile, NALPGAM’s Executive Secretary, Bassey Essien, also confirmed that there wasn’t any gap in the supply of the product thus far, as there were other terminals like Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO), NAVGAS, AITEO among others who also import.

He explained that the fear about the detained vessel was owing to the fact that the bulk of supply comes from NLNG, but even at that there is gas, as NIPCO has just taken delivery of a vessel.

“Our fear was that if as a result of the detention a gap exists, the gap could be exploited to increase price because of inadequate supply, but there is still some normalcy,” he added.

Speaking about pricing, Essien confirmed there wasn’t any hike in price and as of Monday morning, the price still hovered around 4.150 million /20MT.

Meanwhile, when The Guardian visited NavGas LPG terminal in Apapa at the weekend, and found out that a vessel discharging at the early hours of Friday as many gas tankers were on a queue ready to be served as soon as operations began.

Some of the drivers who spoke with The Guardian said they were not aware of any suspicions of scarcity as they have been at the terminal for about a week waiting to be served.

The first driver on the long queue, who groaned about how hectic getting to the terminal was, noted that he has been there for about five days, and was optimistic to be served after the vessel was done discharging.

Speaking in an interview with a NAVGAS operation personnel who pleaded anonymity, he said the detention of the vessel didn’t create any gap because there were other suppliers apart from NLNG, and that the supply gap in Lagos was due to traffic into Apapa.

The source who noted that the product was available, mentioned access to the terminal as the major challenge because container drivers have decided to make public roads their truck parks, and that limits the number of trucks that access the terminal, effectively reducing the flow into the market.

He confirmed the NAVGAS vessel that discharged Friday morning as seen by The Guardian was loaded with 7,000 MT from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) volume from ExxonMobil’s terminal.

He opined that the NLNG detained vessel causing a gap in the market was a propaganda because they don’t supply outside Lagos, and terminals in Port Harcourt , Warri and Calabar don’t take volumes from them because they have capacities to import as well.

Evidently there wasn’t any scare in the domestic market as activities were normal at some gas sales points around the Isolo and Isheri axis of Lagos when our reporter went round, as prices ranged between N1650 to N1700 for a six kg cylinder and between N3450 and N3500 for a 12 kg cylinder.

Source: The Guardian