Nigeria Says It's Solving Issue That Led to Christmas Gas Queues

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made a surprise Christmas Eve visit to petrol stations in the commercial hub Lagos, where motorists had been queuing for hours as the nation grappled with a fuel crisis.

The government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. are working to address the issue “as quickly as possible,” Osinbajo was cited as saying in a statement emailed by his office on Monday. “People have gone through a lot of pain and anguish in the past few days, and that is deeply regretted.”

Fuel shortages in Africa’s biggest oil producer have hampered transport and economic activity. Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Kachikwu has attributed the situation to a delivery gap between the NNPC and other suppliers.

Osinbajo said there are enough petroleum products available to plug the shortage, echoing President Muhammadu Buhari’s assurance on Sunday that the shortage would end in a few days as new oil shipments are distributed.

Empty Gas Stations

In the northern city of Kano, many filling stations had run out of gasoline on Monday. Aminu Sabiu Abdullahi, a motorized tricycle driver, said he had waited for more than five hours to fill up. Others said that gasoline was being sold 50 percent higher than the capped government price of 145 naira per liter ($40c/0.3 gallon).

Nigeria lacks adequate refining capacity and imports at least 70 percent of its oil needs. A government pledge to end these purchases and curb shortages over the next two years has attracted investors, including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, who is constructing a 650,000-barrel-a-day refinery.

Saipem SpA and other international companies are in talks to rehabilitate the country’s three existing plants and ease supply.

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