NNPC, the state-run oil firm in Nigeria, is owed a substantial amount of money from the government. The firm said that it was owed $7 billion in government fuel import subsidies, debts which would wipe out Nigeria’s oil savings account.
The government’s crude savings account, the Excess Crude Account (ECA), is where all funds earned from oil sales in excess of $72 per barrel go. According to a report from Reuters that account held $6.9 billion earlier this month, a substantial amount but not enough to pay NNPC's subsidy claims, let alone a string of other fuel importers' debts.
"As at the end of May 2012 NNPC had unpaid (subsidy) claims of 1.134 trillion naira," Fidel Pepple, spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC), said
Two fuel import unions have threatened to strike this week over unpaid subsidies, risking fuel shortages in Africa's most populous nation, an issue which has prompted public protests in the past.
The situation could lead to fuel shortages and people are already lining up for hours to fill up at inflated prices in some regions of the Niger Delta. According to NNPC it has 46 days of fuel supplies and it would do its best to meet demand despite "limited resources."