Thursday, July 25, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Jet A1 fuel shortage hits the country; Abuja, Lagos worst affected.

For the last two days, Nigeria has been hit by a scarcity of Jet A1 aviation fuel, triggering numerous flight delays in some of the nation's airports, with Abuja and Lagos the worst hit. Some international operators have been forced to add sectors to Accra, Ghana to circumvent the shortage whose cause is not yet known.

The scarcity, which started three days ago, has hit Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport the hardest. Reports out of Lagos state that flights operating to southern Nigerian airports flew to the oil-refining city of Port Harcourt first to fuel up before flying onto Owerri, Warri, Benin or Enugu; while those flying to Abuja, Maiduguri, flew Jos and other northern cities go to Kano to fuel. In Lagos, hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two, MMA2, and the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, as they could not secure flights to their destinations.
"For three days now, Jet fuel has been scarce in Abuja and now we are witnessing it in Lagos. In fact, all our flights have to go and get fuel from Port Harcourt or Kano first before flying to designated airport and this is costing us huge resources. We are worried that this may continue and if it does we will have problems on our hands. We hope that government will do something urgently to avert this," an official from Dana Air said.
It was not yet confirmed that the price of the product had increased, but airline officials believe that if the scarcity continued much longer, prices of the product would inevitably increase with fares correspondingly rising as well.

Presently, the average price of aviation fuel is between NGN160 to NGN170 (USD0.90 to 1.00)  per litre, depending on the city but this may increase to over N200 per litre was the scarcity continues.

Nigeria is Africa's largest, and the world's fifth largest, exporter of petroleum products with the majority of reserves found along the country's Niger River Delta and offshore in the Bight of Benin, the Gulf of Guinea, and the Bight of Bonny. The country has four refineries (Port Harcourt I and II, Warri, and Kaduna) with a combined capacity of around 445,000 bbl/d. However, as a result of poor maintenance, theft, and fire, none of these refineries have ever been fully operational.