Strategies for Managing Petroleum Products Scarcity in Nigeria


The history of petroleum in Nigeria is said to be fascinating.  After the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in port Harcourt now River State shell BP petroleum development company of Nigeria pledged that their consideration would be given to the economic fusibility of constructing a refinery as soon as the output of crude oil attained an  aggregate of 500,000 tons per year.  As this progresses Eleme in Port Harcourt refinery was equipped with a daily processing capacity of 32,00 barrels in 1965 and to 38.00 barrels a day in 1966.

Although the facilities are not yet working to full capacity throughout the year the Nigeria petroleum refinery  company designed the  refinery to meet the anticipation needs over the next year and to allow the seasonal fluctuation   in demand.

However the petroleum refinery at Alese-Eleme was not equipped to produce oil products in wide range of quantity and quality as required by the Nigeria market.   The refinery simple technical equipment and the chemical composition of Nigeria  crude oil make impossible the production of aviation gasoline (ATK) lubricants and bitumen and certain special products.  It was to change this trend that effort were made to make available to cruse oil stream more suited to the product requirement of the Nigeria market.


Selling prices for refined products are divided into two.

  1. Open market price
  2. Consumer contract prices

Open market price apply to oil products which are sold at retail outlets to end consumers.  So uniform prices are recommended to the dealers who are independent businessmen by  their suppliers since the product sold by the marketers is homogeneous.

Consumer contract price are prices which the marketing companies agree upon independently of one another with large consumer of oil products like Nigeria railway corporation electricity (NEPA) the Nigeria ports (NPA) etc.

Upon of all the above efforts and plans led down by the government to make petroleum products available to the consumers petroleum products scarcity still raised its ugly head in Nigeria and it even seem that it has come to stay with us.

Petroleum product scarcity in Nigeria started in the early nineties when the Kaduna refinery developed a slight fault and consumer.  Found very difficult to get the products. The refinery was later to be put in place and the scarcity disappeared.

In 1992, the provisional ruling council (PRC) of the then Babangida regime increased the petroleum products prices and as a result of this petroleum product scarcity reappeared and since then it has been like that ( the news watch 1992 p.3)

Abacha late Nigeria former president during his own regime increased the price of petroleum products from its former price to new prices. This worsen the scarcity. The like in prices according to the late president was a result of the break down of our oil refineries which needs turn around maintenance (TAM). The scarcity still persisted despite the like in price of petroleum products in Nigeria.



There are several schools of though within the subject area. There are this school of though that have the believe that the scarcity of petroleum product in Nigeria is as a result of sabotage from some individuals in other to enrich them selves at the expense of others. This school of though believe that some individual in Nigeria are sabotaging the government by making sure that petroleum product scarcity persist in Nigeria so that they can continued to make some more money in bunkering and all other from of illegal marking.

There exist also this school of though that also have the believe that petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria is due to the government’s negligence of  our oil refineries.  This people believe strongly that petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria is due to both the past and present government’s fruitless efforts to maintain our oil refineries and also their deaf over the call for development of other refineries and oil rigs in Nigeria. The government according to this school of thought spend or allocate founds on things that are not of uttermost important instead of outing more fund on maintenance   of Nigeria oil equipment.

There are also other school of though that believe that petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria is due to insufficient products.  That is that Nigeria oil sectors are not producing enough petroleum products for Nigerians.    This schools of though believe that the barred of oil being produce by Nigeria national petroleum company per a day is not enough for consumption.  They advocates that the  number of barrels of oil being produced by oil sector to be increased by at last by 25% or there about.

There are also other school of thought who have the before that petroleum product scarcity in Nigeria is due to.  Smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria oil.  This group are of the opinion that petroleum products are being smuggled out of Nigeria by some unscrupulous people.  This group also behave that if their efforts are scuttled, that petroleum products scarcity will be a thing of the past.



The school of thought relevant to problem of study is the school of though that I called the realistic school of thought.  It is the school of thought that believe that petroleum product scarcity is a result of the government’s negligence on maintaining our refineries.

Those among these schools of thought are prof. Wole Soyinka.  In his interview with the punch on Saturday, he stated that.  “The ruling governments plan to bury our oil refineries in the lad of redundancy is coded by even the primary school boy” (punch:2001,p.6).

Another crusader of this school of thought which is relevant to this study is the labour president Mr. Adam Oshie Mole.  In his book he stated thus; “The problem of petroleum product scarcity in Nigeria can not be over until the government channels its funds to our oil refineries which have been neglected for years “(Oshieomole: 2001, p.6).

It is pertinent to state here that this school of thought is relevant to the problem of study because if the advice and the call by some of this school of thought be heard and put into practice by the federal government of Nigeria, petroleum product scarcity in Nigeria will be a thing of the past.





There exist different methods of studying the strategies for managing petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria.  One can study it through.

Opinions and views of the people:    This is also the process of getting the views and opinions of the people as regards to petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria.  This can be obtained by asking question as regards to the problem.  Their opinions can either be gotten through questionnaire or through interviews.

Through opinion pulls:  This is the process of asking people to answer “Yes or No” to this problem “Yes, if their opinion is “Yes” and “No if their opinion is No”.  By doing this, their opinion will be gathered together very quickly without wasting the time of going into a deep, research as regards to the problem at hand in other to get a lasting solution.

Other methods of studying the problem strategies for managing petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria” are through graphical method, statistical method which include the pie chart, bar chart etc. these can be used in other to solve the problem.



In running a summary to this chapter one will not be in a hurry to forgot the origin of the subject matter.  This entails how petroleum products in Nigeria came into being, how petroleum products scarcity started raising its ugly head in Nigeria and different efforts by the government to put a stop to it but all to no avoid.  It still persisted till date.


Further, different schools of thought abound as regards to the subject area.  Some of which include those we could called the realistic school of thought; those, that believe that petroleum products scarcity in Nigeria is as a result of the government negligence of our oil refineries.  Also existed as discussed in this chapter, is this school of thought that believe that it is as a result of sabotage on the side of some people in other to tarnish that image of the government.

Besides, the school of thought relevant to this study were also highlighted of which we embrace the realistic approach of this school of thought.  If the call by these people are heard, petroleum products scarcity will be a thing of the past they said.

Finally, they also exist different methods of studying this problem some of which are through questionnaire and interviews, in dept analysis, and though opinions and views.


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