By Julia Payne LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - Nigeria has reduced the number of companies licensed to import gasoline in the third quarter to 27 from 40 in the previous three months, lists corroborated by regional industry sources showed on Friday.
The 27 companies were allocated gasoline import rights by Nigeria's downstream regulator Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), the lists showed.
These companies are expected to import around 1.7 million tonnes for third quarter, down from 1.85 million tonnes in the second quarter.
Though market sources expect some winners will be unable to import owing to financing obstacles - some are still waiting for a backlog of subsidy payments owed by the government following the 2012 subsidy fraud investigation, which unearthed billions of dollars worth of fake claims.
Nigeria imports gasoline through two state-owned authorities - PPPRA and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC.
The PPPRA allocations vary quarter-on-quarter while the PPMC typically brings in about 1.4 million tonnes per quarter through crude-for-product swap agreements with traders, market sources said.
Total Nigerian gasoline imports are expected to be close to 3.1 million tonnes.
The country is chronically short of oil products, particularly gasoline, due to a long period of under-investment in its domestic refineries.
MRS Oil Nigeria was absent from the list, after being included in the second quarter, but some return winners were Oando, Total, Conoil, Folawiyo Oil and Gas, Forte Oil, Techno Oil, NIPCO and Masters Energy.
Mobil Nigeria PLC, ExxonMobil's local arm, was listed among the winners with larger volumes as well as Aiteo. Allocation sizes vary from 30,000 tonnes up to 120,000 tonnes.
Following is a list of companies licensed to import gasoline for July to September by PPPRA.
1 A-Z 2 Aiteo 3 Avidor 4 BSR 5 Bovas 6 Conoil 7 Cybernetics 8 Folawiyo 9 Forte 10 Gulf Treasures 11 Hyde 12 Integrated 13 Matrix 14 Mettle 15 NIPCO 16 Oando 17 Rainoil 18 Sahara 19 Shorelink 20 Total 21 TSL 22 Mobil 23 Ascon 24 Hudson 25 Dee Jones 26 Techno 27 Masters (Editing by David Evans)