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Depot owners counter Dangote refinery on importing dirty fuel claim

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Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has denied importing dirty fuel into Nigeria, saying the diesel from the Dangote refinery contains more sulphur than imported one.

According to The Punch, the association is reacting to claims by the management of the Dangote oil refinery that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority had been granting licenses indiscriminately to marketers to import what they described as dirty refined products into the country.

The paper referred to a statement by the DAPPMAN Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, in which the management of the association stated “emphatically that no member of the association and indeed, no private fuel depot has imported into the country any fuel with specification that is outside of the regulation other than what is currently approved by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority and would wish to state that the information from the Dangote Refinery Management is laced with Inaccuracies”.

DAPPMAN noted that the downstream regulatory authority has recently objected to offtakes by its daughter vessels from import mother vessels, via ship-to-ship operations which usually take place offshore Lome, a move it said was vehemently protested and resisted by downstream operators until it was rescinded.

“DAPPMAN recalls that between February and May 2024, the NMDPRA had allowed AGO imports with a maximum sulphur content of 200/ppm, however, this was followed by another move, by the regulator, to fast forward the country’s target date of the implementation of the 50/ppm sulphur limitation on PMS and AGO imports, from 31st December 2024 to 1st June 2024, thereby limiting all marketers and depots’ AGO source to Dangote Refinery even though the latter was yet to install its desulphurization equipment as the sulphur in its blends of AGO presently exceed 50/ppm.

“This again was resisted by DAPPMAN in its letter to the NMDPRA which was dated 10th June 2024 to warn and alert the regulator not to ‘inadvertently promote and introduce a monopoly into the sector,” the statement read partly.

The depot owners association said further that, “With stiff resistance at every attempt at introducing a Dangote Refinery monopoly into the downstream, and the fact that the latter, despite its most recent production of AGO with sulphur contents reported at 1200/ppm, it is baffling to us that the Management of Dangote Industries (including the Dangote Refinery), who are very much aware of these facts, could claim that the NMDPRA has been granting licenses indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

“Their current blend of AGO, with reported sulphur contents of 1200/ppm is technically classified as ‘dirty fuel’ and grossly above the 200/ppm imported by any marketer or depot owner,” DAPPMAN stated.

While acknowledging that the Dangote refinery is a business entity that is free to adopt any model that suits its management, DAPPMAN, however, stressed that “its current practice of cheaper bulk sales prices to international buyers at the detriment of Nigerian buyers calls to question their patriotism to the country”.

It added, “Several Nigerian marketers had in recent past been offered Dangote refinery cargoes by international trading firms at rates that are very much lower than what they were directly offered by Dangote Refinery, and this will not be in the interest of the Nigerian fuel end-user.”

The statement concluded, “There is no doubt that the success of the Dangote refinery will be a thing of pride to the nation, but all downstream operators and their activities must be in tandem with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 which abhors ‘monopoly’ of any sort.

“DAPPMAN will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the Dangote refinery willingly to provide safe and healthy fuels to all Nigerians competitively giving them great and affordable fueling options for their daily activities.”

An official of the Dangote Group, who did not want to be mentioned told our correspondent that the refusal of international oil companies to sell crude oil to Dangote refinery was the reason its diesel is higher in cost.

On Monday, the National President, IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, blamed Dangote for the importation of diesel by operators, saying his (Dangote) diesel is more expensive.

Maigandi disclosed that Dangote did not heed the advice of marketers that the current price of diesel and aviation fuel be reduced to beat competitors in the market.

The IPMAN boss maintained that nobody would be encouraged to import the so-called dirty fuel if the products from Dangote refinery were cheaper.

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“The major challenge is the cost of the Dangote diesel. We are looking for a reduction from him. He should bring it to a little bit lower rate.

“The fact that people bring in diesel from other countries into Nigeria is his fault. It is because of his price. You know I said earlier that he should bring his price down so that he would discourage importation by the other marketers. His price is higher. If it is lower, why should people buy outside?” the marketer stated.

The Dangote refinery official had accused the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

 

 

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