…virus catches the world unprepared, shuts down economies, says Wunti
In spite of disruptions in the country amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it is committed to ensuring that Nigerians have sufficient supply of petrol.
Mr Bala Wunti, the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of NNPC, said in Abuja on Thursday.
“It is the focus of the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, currently is to ensure that Nigerians have sufficient supply of petrol despite the disruptions in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ he said during an interview on Channels TV.
Describing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as far-reaching, Wunti said: “As you are aware, when this happened, it caught the world unprepared and what the world did in order to contain it was to trigger a kind of lockdown.
“That lockdown led to total shutdown of economies. It brought down the global economy to the level that was forecasted to be 10 per cent of global GDP and wages of $4 trillion has been taken away as a result of unemployment forecasted to be almost 100 million people who would have lost their jobs.
“And all these things are happening at the same time when demand has collapsed completely. Demand has come down by almost 20 per cent, from 100 million barrels to now around 80 million barrels.
“And while this is happening, production continues to grow. We have an oversupply and a decaying demand and the consequence of that obviously triggered a kind of intense struggle by the two largest producers – Russia and Saudi Arabia.’’
He also said: “That led to a price which brought us to where we are. We have seen a new trend in oil prices because of the oversupply, mopping up everything that has to do with storage.
“What that means is that the storage are getting filled quickly and very soon if nothing is that, we would get to a situation where there is nowhere to commodity.”
On NNPC’s plan as regards the development, Wunti said the corporation would continue to pursue what he called energy security.
“What is important is that we have to maintain our energy security. To achieve that we have to ensure that the entire country has sufficient fuel supply as well as ensure there is enough gas for the power plants, so that we can have power and oil.
“And that is the pre-occupation of the GMD. When this happened, he was very decisive and he took an unprecedented step to make sure we have enough fuel.
“More equally, we are trying to reduce cost and also see the possibility of deferring some of the projects we anticipated in the near term,” he said.