By Emerson Chukwuka
When the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd, then a corporation, set out in the year 2002 to establish a petroleum products retail company as a Corporate Business Unit, it had clear intentions and business objectives. One of such intentions was to create access to quality white products and services for Nigerians from the national oil company.
NNPC Retail commenced operation on the 1st of January 2002. Its first outlet was acquired from Texaco Nigeria Ltd at Ikoyi, Lagos. Its Abuja Mega Station commenced operation in December 2002.
Today, NNPC Retail Ltd, registered as a company in 2009, has over 900 stations ranging from Affiliate Stations, Mega Stations, and Standard Stations to Leased Stations, Ultra-modern Stations, and Floating Stations. These stations are spread from Nigeria to Togo. The company plans to expand to other West African countries and in the process become the leading petroleum products outlet company in the region. It is about the only retail outlet in the country with 8 floating stations in the Niger Delta region aimed at bringing quality petroleum products to residents of the riverine communities who hitherto to travel several kilometres outside their immediate abode to buy the products.
NNPC Ltd.’s acquisition of the OVH Downstream Assets in the last quarter of 2022 was a step deliberately taken to expand the footprint of NNPC Retail Ltd in the downstream and enhance its mission of making quality products readily accessible to customers. Speaking at the unveiling of one of the new NNPC Ltd stations in Abuja, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, said, “The acquisition will bring over 380 additional filling stations under NNPC Retail brand in Nigeria and Togo, on our journey to attaining 1,500 stations. We will be the largest petroleum product retail network in Africa.”
“NNPC has under an Accelerated Network Expansion (ANEX) Initiative completed the acquisition of OVH downstream assets including reception jetty (ASPM) with 240,000 metric tons monthly capacity, eight Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plants, three lubes blending plants, three aviation depots, and 12 warehouses,” he said.
Speaking recently while appearing before an Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives, Mr Kyari said the acquisition was already yielding dividends with NNPC Retail raking in over ₦18.4 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2023 compared to N6.93 billion made at the same period in 2022 prior to the acquisition.
NNPC Retail Limited, has been on the trajectory of expansion and growth and has continued to be the leading petroleum retail outlet in Nigeria. In its last released report, the company raked in total revenue of N255.6bn by the third quarter of 2022.
“NNPC Retail Limited achieved six per cent year-on-year increase in total white product sales, ₦255.6bn revenue, ₦15bn EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation) and ₦14.14bn profit as at Q3 (third quarter) 2022,” the report stated.
The report stated that NNPC Retail completed the construction of two standard stations in Kaduna and Kano states and onboarded 71 new stations within the year.
Five of them were leased, while 66 were affiliate stations. the company also completed phase one solar power project with three stations in Borno, Bauchi and Nasarawa States and carried out rehabilitation and facelift of 15 company-owned stations within the network last year.
With the acquisition of the OVH stations, the company has expanded its network in its desire to bring quality white products and lube services to every nook and cranny of the nation.
Across the nation, many Nigerians have come to trust the NNPC Retail brand for its quality of products and services. People travel kilometres to buy petroleum products from the NNPC Retail outlets for various reasons. A consultant with one of the leading consulting companies in Nigeria, who would not want his name in print said he would rather purchase products from NNPC Retail outlets because he believed he would be getting value for his money.
“I will rather buy my fuel from an NNPC Retail station because I am sure I will be buying the correct litre of petrol unlike some of these stations where they adjust their meters and you buy less for your money value”, he said.
This is the testimony of many people who have had the experience of purchasing their products from the NNPC Retail stations.
Over the years, many Nigerians have come to rate the delivery of NNPC Ltd objectives by the availability of petroleum products in the country. Although, going by the array of business activities NNPC Ltd carries out across the oil and gas value chain, retailing of petroleum products is probably less than 10%, Nigerians would always judge it by the availability or not of petroleum products at the pumps. Hence, NNPC Retail is strategic to NNPC Ltd in its desire to meet the energy needs of the people.
It is on record that NNPC Retail pioneered the sale of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders and partnered with LPG dealers to sell LPG across the country leading to greater penetration of LPG use in the country. Today over 60 percent of petroleum retail stations especially in the south of the country, have LPG sale-points. Everyone can still remember the NNPC Ltd branded LPG cylinders which were distributed and sold widely through NNPC Mega Stations. This exercise created awareness on the use of LPG instead of firewood and provided guidance on the safest way to use LPG. Today, the penetration of LPG use is very high especially in parts of the south.
It is also important to realise that NNPC Retail Ltd is key to meeting one of the roles that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has placed on NNPC Ltd as the supplier of last resort. What this means is that at any point in time when there is disruption in the supply chain of petroleum products either by man-made acts or natural disaster, it falls on the NNPC to ensure availability of products until such a time when normalcy is restored. In such situations, the NNPC Retail outlets could be the fastest means to get products to the populace going by their spread, reliability, and the trust it enjoys among Nigerians.
This trust has been built over time through quality services and products and immediate action taken to remedy customers’ complaints or service failure where and when it occurs.
Just recently, when the news of some sharp practices by some fuel attendants at an NNPC Retail station in Port Harcourt was trending in the social media, the company stepped in immediately and resolved the situation by identifying the station and the culprit and took immediate action to remedy the situation and assured customers of their commitment to quality of products and services.
The action elicited a lot of positive response from the populace who commended NNPC limited for the quick response and assurances given to customers.
Going forward, NNPC Retail Ltd, understandably, is looking forward to pioneering provision of charging points for electric vehicles at its stations in the near future and providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as well as conversion of vehicles to the use of CNG for interested car owners in line with the global decarbonisation demands.
As the company is evolving in its desire to serve the Nigerian people, it has continued to pioneer emerging services to meet the needs of the people without compromising its standing integrity as the major source of quality petroleum products and services.