Nigerian Blenders, Tanker Drivers at Odds


A Nigerian union of tanker drivers recently raised charges for transportation of base oils, causing a tiff between drivers and lubricant blenders.

Until now, drivers with the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union charged 20 kobo (100 kobo constitute one Nigerian naira) per liter on a 33,000-liter tanker of base oil, amounting to 6,600 naira (U.S. $33) per tanker. Now the drivers are demanding one naira per liter, which increase total charges to 33,000 naira per tanker.

We were giving them 20 kobo before, but now they are insisting on collecting one naira per liter. You have 33,000 liters in a tanker, and this is affecting our business because we cannot load base oils from our tank farms, said Taiye Williams, managing director of Lubcon International.

Emmanuel Ekpenyong, head of lubricants for Honeywell Oil and Gas, told Lube Report that the tanker drivers have shifted position to 50 kobo per liter. Ekpenyong said blenders still are not accepting it.

Ekpenyong said that additional charges are understandable only if they apply to third-party dealers that sell base oils to lubricant blenders or transport them across Nigerian borders, not to blenders themselves.

We insist that where there is no value addition – there should be no extra charges, Ekpenyong added.

Emeka Obidike, executive secretary of the Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria said, It is unacceptable because the tanker drivers did not import base oils for our members.

Williams added that the tanker drivers are not imposing the same fee on major oil marketers, only on independent blenders. The association believes this is because independents utilize private tank farms.

Union spokesman Abdulkadir Garuba said he did not have enough information to discuss the controversy.

Obidike said that Lupan would meet Aug. 19 to review its relationship with members of the union and take a final position on the new charges.

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