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The Federal Government of Nigeria has opened conversations with operators in the midstream and downstream oil sector as part of measures towards developing strategic stock for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, in key locations across the country.

In addition to announcing the formation of a 14-person committee to find a long-term fix for the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products, it stated that the national strategic stocks will aid in tackling Nigeria’s ongoing gasoline shortage.

On Tuesday in Abuja during the ongoing stakeholders’ consultation session on midstream and downstream petroleum laws, Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, revealed this regarding the strategic stock.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, he explained that the NMDPRA and stakeholders were going through the eight draft regulations, which were the third batch, put together by the authority, adding that the National Strategic Stock Regulations was one of them.

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He said, “Section 181 of the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act) compels us to develop strategic stock. On the supply issues that we usually have, recall that a few weeks ago, there was flooding in Lokoja and Bayelsa, and supplies were impacted negatively.

‘We should have strategic stock across the country. And there are storage everywhere, even though pipelines need to be revamped. So this strategic stock regulations addresses that need, and it is a priority.’

Ukoha added, ‘It takes three to four days for trucks from the coastal areas to get here (Abuja), and if something happens on the road, then you will see how it will impact on the supplies in the Federal Capital Territory.

‘On Friday, we had to go to Niger State, where three trucks fell across the Bida-Lapai and Agae road. We were there to make sure that those trucks were cleared. But with the strategic stock, most of that will be addressed.

‘If you have that kind of issue, you’ll just recall some volumes from the nearest storage. So these are very important draft regulations that the authority is putting forward.’

The NMDPRA official explained that the midstream and downstream arms of the sector were very strategic positions in the industry, and the regulations being put out by the authority were critical.

On what could be delaying the draft regulations from becoming laws, considering their importance to the oil sector, Ukoha explained that they must follow laid down processes.

Africa Today News, New York

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