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Oil: Completion of Dangote Refinery, others to integrate Africa’s downstream sector

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Nigeria and other African countries would soon heave a sigh of relief from the sloppy economic situation occasioned by price instability with the imminent completion of the Dangote Refinery and other modular refineries in Nigeria.

Already, the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has said at a forum in Egypt that his country is anxiously waiting for the readiness of the Dangote refinery to save his government of economic distortion caused by massive importation of petroleum from the Europe.

Technical Adviser to the President of Dangote Group on Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Babajide Soyode has said that the completion of Dangote Refinery and other modular refinery projects in Nigeria would culminate in the integration of the downstream industries, lower cost of business and stabilise the prices of petroleum products across the Africa sub-region.

He made this assertion during a panel session on ‘Refining, Transportation and Petrochemicals Forum’, at the just concluded 2019 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja. He thus emphasised the need for the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream sector.

According to him, “by the time Dangote completes the largest single train refinery, in addition to what other investors are doing, Nigeria will have more than enough petrol for domestic use and for export.”He therefor stressed the need for government to allow private sector run the downstream industry. “First of all, the refinery will save Nigeria from importation of refined products, which will help to boost the value of the naira, he added.

Soyode said there is no need for the Federal Government to continue to subside petrol. “Government should remove subsidy and allow private sector to manage the downstream sector. Regulation is not going to stay forever. Regulation of petroleum products has been in existence in the last 32 years. What have we gained from it? Do you know any single poor man whose life has been improved through this policy?

“I think people should demand that subsidy be removed and the downstream sector should be deregulated. Nigerians are dynamic. We don’t need government’s regulation with respect to the price of petrol. What are they regulating? There is no country that has ever succeeded in regulating commodity product,” he added.He emphasised the need for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries and bring them to full capacity utilization.

Soyode stated: “Dangote’s construction of 650,000 bpd refinery is not new to Nigeria. Although, Dangote is presently constructing the biggest refinery in the world, Nigeria has been a big player in petroleum refining. NNPC refineries are gold mines and they are sited in the best market in Nigeria. Why can’t NNPC reactivate and upgrade its refineries? NNPC has some of the best manpower in the world. Regulation is not going to stay forever.”

Speaking also at the panel session, Chief Executive OVH Energy Marketing, Huub Stokman, commended the federal government for its efforts in tackling the accumulated petroleum subsidy debt to oil marketers.

Dwelling on the need for the federal government to deregulate the downstream industry, Stokman insisted that Nigeria cannot continue to import petroleum products. “Modular refinery is going to play a major role in Nigeria’s for self-sufficiency”, he said.
Chairman, Integrated Oil & Gas Limited, Emmanuel Iheanacho said there is need for the country to address the imbalance where Nigeria exports its crude oil without value addition.

Iheanacho added that only full deregulation can bring the much needed investment to the sector. “We need a programme that will allow us refine our product locally.”

He posited that full liberalisation and deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream oil sector will remove all the hindrances and bottlenecks that have been discouraging improvement of private investment and market competition.

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