The Nigerian National Petroleum Company has confirmed that once the Dangote Refinery starts pumping out refined petroleum products from late July or early August, the NNPCL will cut down on its imports of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
NNPCL is currently the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, a task which it had shouldered for several years. Other oil marketers stopped importing petrol due to their inability to access the United States dollars at the official rate.
NNPCL also owned 20 per cent stake in the Dangote Refinery. The 650,000 barrels per day crude oil processing refinery was inaugurated on May 22, 2023 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, who described the facility as a game-changer.
Also at the inauguration, the Founder/Chairman, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the facility would put an end to the inflow of toxic substandard petroleum products into Nigeria, adding that the refinery would meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s fuel needs.
Dangote also stated that the refinery would start delivering refined products to the Nigerian market from late July or Early August this year.
When contacted by our correspondent and asked about what would happen to the NNPCL fuel imports programme once the Dangote Refinery began to push out products in August, the national oil firm’s spokesperson, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said this would change.
He said, “NNPC Limited is bringing in products from outside Nigeria as a matter of necessity, not as a matter of choice. We would have preferred that we produce here, refine here and we sell and provide the energy security that the country needs.
“Because of the circumstances that surround our refineries, we cannot allow the country to be grounded. So we have to buy wherever we can get and sell. So if Dangote products are available, why should we not buy from Dangote?
“There is absolutely no reason. And that is the reason why we are interested in the Dangote Refinery. We are co-owners, shouldn’t we do business with our partners rather than do it with other people?”
Muhammad explained that the NNPCL would be supplying crude oil to the Dangote Refinery based on business agreement between both parties, and that this would be in accordance with the international price of crude.
“NNPC owns 20 per cent of that asset and we have an agreement with Dangote that we will supply the refinery with crude. So as soon as Dangote begins to request for crude to pay for it, NNPC is prepared to supply the crude as a business transaction.
“We have been selling crude to different parts of the world for decades, and it is not whether we will sell it to Dangote, for why won’t we sell to Dangote when we are selling to other refineries and countries?”
NNPCL Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, recently stated that the supply of 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day by the national oil firm to the Dangote Refinery would start once the facility commenced operations.
Marketers demand pricing template
Meanwhile, oil marketers said the cost of refined petroleum products to be produced by the Dangote Refinery would not be known at the moment until the refinery released its pricing template.
They expressed hope that the refinery would improve the petroleum products’ supply situation in Nigeria, but noted that the cost of white products would only be determined by the pricing template of the facility.
The Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said, “By the time it starts producing, we would see how implementation is going to be and his template. We cannot say much about the refinery until it starts. So let us see the mode of production, how it is going to look like in terms of its pricing template.”
Also speaking on the issue, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said the pricing template from the new refinery would guide operators on what would be the cost of refined petroleum products from the facility.