We Have Product On Ground’: Liberia Petroleum Importers, LPRC Erase Looming Gas Shortage Fears

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A tanker refueling at LPRC for retail distribution

Monrovia – The Petroleum Importers Association of Liberia and the Management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company on Wednesday moved strongly to dismiss suggestions of a looming shortage of gasoline on the market which led to what importers describe as panic buying of gasoline and fuel by consumers looking to stock up in case of a shortage.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica Wednesday,  Mrs. Esther Neufville, CEO of Nexium Petroleum Limited and Vice President of the PIAL, said: “We have product on ground to last until the first vessel arrive. However, stockpiling of gasoline in our homes are unsafe and could also reduce product availability.”

Addressing the inability by importers to bring in product

FrontPageAfrica was informed that two vessels are due to arrive in the next few days. The first by Petro Trade is expected on the E-Ship Barracuda Vessel set to arrive on March 31 2020with 8 ,000mt while another St. Stena Immaculate  with 30mt of mix product brought in by  Conex, Aminata and Nexium petroleum is due to arrive between April 3 -5, 2020. Other importers are also scheduled to bring products in next month .

The LPRC for its part, declared that it is the only company that has the mandate and clothed with the authority to speak to issues of petroleum importation and distribution throughout the Republic of Liberia.
In a statement Wednesday, the Corporation said: “The public is therefore advised that all information relating to petroleum and petroleum-related  activities, including stock balances must be confirmed and/or released by the Management of LPRC. Again, we want to assure the general public that there is enough quantity of gasoline and diesel in the country and there is no need for panic buying. We urge all Liberians and resident within our borders to observe the prescribed procedure of regular hand washing and social distancing instituted by our health authorities against the deadly COVID-19.”

Additionally, the importers association, companies that are importing petroleum, explain that products are supplied daily from both LPRC and Conex  terminals to stations owned by TOTAL, Petro Trade Aminata and NP.

The current supply is expected to last until the first week of April 2020 when the two shipment of products will be due.

The clarification Wednesday comes hours after Professor Wilson Tarpeh, Minister of Commerce and Industry announced the current supply of gasoline on the Liberian market is at an all-time low-and is expected to run out within the coming weeks.

“We have product on ground to last until the first vessel arrive early next month. However, stockpiling of gasoline in our homes are unsafe and could also reduce product availability.”

– Mrs. Esther Neufville, CEO of Nexium Petroleum Limited and Vice President of the Petroleum Importers Association of Liberia

Addressing the Plenary of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Prof. Tarpeh blamed the situation to the inability of major importers to finance the importation of gasoline owing to the problem of reconciliation and dredging at the Freeport of Monrovia.

However, Prof. Tarpeh assured the House Plenary that the situation is expected to be addressed within a month following the arrival of 19,000 metric tons, about 6,650,000 gallons of gasoline within four weeks.
“In the current situation, the level of petroleum product in the market is very low, precariously low and there are two primary reasons for this: the inability of importers to finance import as the result of the situation that we have with the reconciliation and the dredging of the port,” he said, in his testimony before the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, the importers took exception to the minister’s comments before the legislature insisting that it has more than enough supply on the market and there is no need for consumers to panic buy and create an artificial shortage of petroleum products.

This comes amid the health emergency announced by the government last weekend urging citizens to avoid congestion in crowded spaces in a bid to curb the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

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