December 1, 2023

Scarcity of Liquefied Petroleum Gas also known as cooking gas has hit Lagos and some other states in the country.

The other affected states, according to findings by our correspondents are: Katsina, Sokoto, Delta, Kaduna and Kano.

The rise in price of the commodity has been noticed since late last month, causing a continuous rise in prices, The PUNCH has learnt.

The PUNCH had earlier reported how gas terminal owners increased price by 66 per cent in October alone. Price of 20 metric tons of cooking gas rose from N10m at the beginning of last month to N16 million as of late last month despite NLNG currently supplying 20MT of cooking gas to them at N9m.

Market survey carried out by The PUNCH over the weekend, revealed that 12.5kg of cooking gas now sells for between N13,500 and N14,000 at the black market.

Some of the traders informed The PUNCH that gas plant owners now sell to them at between N1100-N1200 per 1kg as they could not access enough quantity.

As of June, the price of 12.5kg was around N8, 700. In September price rose to N10, 200, and as of Saturday, price had again risen to between N13, 500-N14, 000.

In a chat with President, the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, Oladapo Olatunbosun on Sunday, The PUNCH learnt that there is currently not enough cooking gas in Lagos state.

“In my own gas plant, I sell at N950 per 1kg. So, by all means, the masses should try not to patronise those that don’t have gas plants because they will also add their profit. Those people are also part of the problem we are facing in the country.

Our correspondent in Katsina also reported scarcity of cooking gas in the state.

According to findings, the scarcity was first observed about two weeks ago as several small retailers complained of non-availability. Investigation has also shown that a kilogram of cooking gas goes for nothing less than N1, 400 in the state. No official reason had been given for the scarcity.

Scarcity of cooking gas has also been noticed in Sokoto State metropolis in the last few days, leading to prices being increased indiscriminately.

Our correspondent in Kaduna reported that residents were spotted carrying their cylinders in search of the commodity as of Sunday. Findings showed that a retail price of 5 kilogram went for N5, 500.

In the neighbouring Kano state, our correspondent disclosed that the resurfacing of scarcity of cooking was noticed, as residents are engaging in panic buying of the commodity.

An investigation by The Punch showed that following the resurfacing of the scarcity, marketers have jerked up the prices as kilogram of cooking gas is now being sold at N850 in some filling stations while others sold it between N900 and N950 per kilogram.

However, long queue of buyers are now common feature at most of filling stations dispensing the commodity.

At other outlets (black market) the price is between N1,110 per kilo and N1200 per kilo.

In Delta State, investigations by our correspondent in Warri and Effurun metropolitan cities show that the price of cooking gas has shot up to N1,100 per kg as of Sunday, 5th November, 2023.

The commodity was selling at N800 per kg in October in the twin cities.

When questioned on the rationale for the price increase, a popular gas dealer in Warri identified as Mr. Igho, could not ascertain the cause.

When contacted, an official in the Public Communications Department of the Nigeria Gas Company, Warri, who sought for anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak with the press, declined to comment on the issue.

“It is not in my position to engage the press the way the new NNPCL is structured”, he simply told our correspondent.

Meanwhile reports from Abuja and Kwara showed that consumers are not experiencing scarcity though prices remain high.

In Abuja, a resident of Karu, in AMAC Area Council of Abuja, Roy, told our correspondent that while there was no scarcity of cooking gas in his vicinity, his experience was a mix of liquefied gas and pure gas, which no longer lasted as long as it used to.

“So for me, the problem I’m having is it liquefies. So insted of having the normal gas, you end up with like seventy percent gas, and thirty percent liquid that’s inside the cylinder, for whatever you buy.

So initially we were not even aware, until we noticed that when we shake the cylinder, it’s always leaving the liquefied part under. So it ends within like two or three weeks before the normal period when it should last”, he said.

Another resident, Sandra, told our correspondent that there was no scarcity of cooking gas, but noted that it had become expensive.

“I bought gas today at Abacha road in Mararaba. 12.5kg for N13,500. I wouldn’t say there is scarcity, just that it has become expensive”, she said.

Agreeing, another Kubwa resident, Cecilia, said, “It’s not scarce in my area, there’s just a price increase. I bought last Wednesday at N1000 per Kg. Plus it doesn’t last as long as it used to”.

Punch investigation in Kwara, however showed that the commodity is available in most of the filling stations.

A dealer operating an outlet at Gaa Odota in Ilorin identified as chief Sunday Oladele told Punch correspondent that gas was available at his outlet adding that a kilogram was being sold at N1,200.

“Cooking gas is available in Kwara state. I have it in my outlet which I sell at N1,200 per kg. We have not experienced scarcity in Kwara. There is also gas at Ogbomoso in Oyo state where I have another outlet and it is being sold at N1,100 per kg.

The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited currently supplies the market 70 per cent of the cooking gas being consumed in-country, according to Olatunbosun.

There are claims that Nigeria had the fastest growing LPG sector in the world with a projected LPG market size of $10bn, as the annual per capita consumption of LPG had risen from 1.8kilogramme in 2015 to 5kg in 2021. According to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, domestic consumption of cooking gas exceeded 1 million MT in 2020. It said the consumption rate made 2020 the first year in the nation’s history when LPG consumption reached the 1 million MT thresholds.

Olabosun also told The PUNCH that prices of cooking gas would have further increased from N16m for 20MT to N18m were it not for the alarm raised by gas plants owners over rising prices.

“As a matter of fact, prices would have further exploded more than it is now if not for the noise that we have been making. But prices are beginning to reduce at standard gas plants. It shouldn’t be more than N1000 per 1kg, and it will continue to go down,” he added.

A source told The PUNCH on Sunday that the Federal Government had summoned the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority over rising prices.

“The Federal Government summoned the NMDPRA in October and reinstated its mandate at bringing sanity to the market. So, all things being equal, prices of cooking gas would begin to come down any moment,” the source who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter told The Punch on Sunday.

Olatunbosun had in September warned that the price of 12.5kg could rise to N18,000 by December if the FG does not step in to checkmate the activities of the terminal owners.

“There is a ridiculous hike in gas prices going on right now, and I am afraid that if the federal government does not step in to checkmate the activities of these terminal owners, prices could reach as high as N18 million per metric ton by December. This means that a 12.5kg could go as high as N18,000,” he told The PUNCH.

According to him; terminal owners were “hiding under the guise of high foreign exchange to increase price to further increase the suffering of the masses,” he said, adding that there was no justification for the increment.

In response to The PUNCH, terminal owners however, debunked the allegations, and blamed the rising prices on forex and increasing prices of crude oil at the international market.

 

The PUNCH

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