Fear Over Cooking Gas Scarcity As Supply Drops
The drop in the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly known as cooking gas, to Lagos has led to an increase in the retail price of the commodity, raising fears of an imminent scarcity in the state and many parts of the country.
The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers said last Wednesday that terminal owners had increased the price of 20 metric tonnes of the LPG by 33 per cent to N4.2m within five days.
NALPGAM said efforts to extract the cause of the sudden price increase from the terminal operators had not been successful.
The Nigeria LNG Limited, which is based in Port Harcourt, uses a vessel to deliver the LPG to Lagos at least twice in a month and buyers take the commodity to different parts of the country through trucks.
The company only delivers volumes to government-owned Northern Oil Jetty terminal and Navgas terminal, a private facility.
Our correspondent gathered that over 34 off-takers involved in the distribution of the NLNG’s volumes across the country received supply from the terminals.
But investigations revealed that the vessel only delivered the LPG volumes to Lagos once in October and no supply had been received this month as of the time of filing this report.
The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said on Sunday that the reduction in supply had led to about 90 per cent increment in gas price within a space of one week.
“It is likely that this ugly situation will continue if there is no urgent intervention, especially as Christmas and New Year approach. Just a week ago, in Lagos and some neighbouring states, 12.5kg LPG was sold between N2,600 and N3,000 at retail outlets. It is now sold between N4,000 and N4,500 owing to the sudden hike in the price by tank farm operators,” the LPGAR said in a statement.
Last week, the NLNG, in a letter seen by our correspondent, explained to off-takers recent delays and disruptions to the Lagos delivery schedule.
It said deliveries to Lagos had progressed uninterrupted until August when the LPG vessel, ‘Navigator Capricorn’, loaded a cargo in Bonny and then experienced a suspected piracy attack en route to deliver the cargo to Lagos.
The spokesperson for the NLNG, Sophia Horsfall, in an emailed response to questions, told our correspondent on Friday that the company delivered 12,000MT to the Navgas terminal in Apapa, Lagos on October 15, 2019.
“Before then, we delivered a total of 32,050MT (three cargoes) in the month of September to Lagos. Our next delivery for about the 10th of November will be to NOJ terminal in Lagos. We typically deliver at least two cargoes of the LPG each month to Lagos via NOJ and Navgas terminals,” she said.
The LPGAR called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to urgently intervene in order to restore sanity.
“The situation is already forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources of cooking energy such as firewood and saw dusk irrespective of the attendant health risks and resultant environmental degradation that results from those alternative energy sources,” it added.