Importation of petrol to Nigeria has increased with more inflows expected from Europe in months to come.
Trading sources told Platts, a global energy information website, at the weekend that one of the main reasons for the strong demand has been the increased buying interest from Nigeria.
Nigeria has four refineries which could reduce petroleum products importation by up to 50 per cent but the refineries have struggled to remain afloat and have been unable to produce in appreciable quantities since the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced they were back alive.
Take the 37-year-old Warri refinery for example, it has remained shut since August due to some technical hitches in one of its units.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Ibe Kachikwu has given a 90 days ultimatum to the refineries to stream back to full active service or be sold.
Plans are on to build new refineries because existing ones are close to 30-40 years old but for now, sources said, massive fuel imports will continue because the refineries are yet to hit optimal output and demands are beginning to rise.
The importation trend could continue up to the end of the year as the festive season approaches, a season when fuel consumption, is usually high. In early September, the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) reportedly issued additional import allocations for, at least, 300,000 tonnes of petrol for the remainder of the third quarter.