By Moses Akaigwe
The Federal Government’s partial deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sub-sector received a boost recently when two major players in the industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to forge a strategic partnership that will enhance the benefits of the exercise, especially in the area of availability of refined products.
LINC Nigeria Limited (LINC) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) signed the MoU in Abuja, following months of negotiations and feasibility assessment of the venture aimed at seamless distribution of petroleum products to all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
LINC Nigeria Ltd is a fully indigenous corporate organisation with interest in the oil and gas and other sectors of the economy.
Giving insight into the partnership, the Chief Executive Officer of LINC Nigeria, Mr. Pat Ifeanyi Oramah, explained that by the agreement, his company would provide tank farm facilities for the warehousing of the petroleum products procured by independent petroleum marketers before distribution.
The products, usually procured by IPMAN from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC)’s subsidiaries, including the Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC) Limited and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other international sources, will be stored in the tank farms from where they will be trucked to the fuel stations for dispensing.
Oramah disclosed that this collaboration would make for easy availability of the products in the far North, South-east and South-south flanks of the country with tremendous impact on the pump prices of the products at the fuel stations.
“In the specific situation where products allocation is from the Port Harcourt refinery depot, such products shall be warehoused in LINC’s Calabar tank farm for storage,” Oramah stressed, adding that in the event that LINC’s tank farm is unable to take all the products sourced by IPMAM, other tank farms could be engaged for storage.
It was also agreed by the parties that whenever LINC sources petroleum products on its own, IPMAN shall enjoy the right of “first refusal” to buy such products.
The LINC-IPMAN partnership is coming on the heels of an international collaboration agreement between LINC Nigeria Ltd and Saudi Crown, a big player in the oil and other related industries, in the Middle East.
While Oramah represented LINC at the signing ceremony in the UAE, Saudi Crown team was led by the Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Kaher.