London — Gasoline demand in Nigeria averaged 53 million liters/day in 2018, up about 1.5% from the previous two years, the country’s state fuel import regulatory body said Tuesday.
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“Based on PPPRA truck-out figures, the PMS [gasoline] national average supply for 2016 and 2017 was around 50 million liters, while estimated average for the year 2018 was about 53 million liters,” the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency said.
Earlier in the month, state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said it had around 2.98 billion liters of gasoline stocks, enough to cover at least 59 days of consumption.
NNPC recently entered into bulk purchase agreements with some private companies that would undertake to sell gasoline in 24-hour operations to avert any shortages.
Nigeria relies heavily on the international market to buy gasoline and gasoil to fuel cars and power generators as its four refineries operate well below nameplate capacity due to sabotage and technical problems.
In December 2017, Nigeria suffered severe gasoline shortages that lasted for a few months as the OPEC member struggled to meet domestic demand.
NNPC remains Nigeria’s main gasoline importer as private marketers are yet to resume imports even after the government began clearing the backlog of the Naira 800 billion ($2.2 billion) of subsidy arrears owed on imports over the past three years, as well the provision of $1 billion for subsidy on imported gasoline in the 2019 budget.
PPPRA said that with the recent plunge in global oil prices and a downward trend in open market price of gasoline, it expects that the private marketers will soon resume gasoline imports.