Technical adviser to the president of Dangote Group on Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Babajide Soyode said 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 also emphasised the need for the federal government to fully deregulate the downstream sector.
Meanwhile, the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, at a forum in Egypt said that Ghana is anxiously waiting for the readiness of the Dangoe refinery to save his government of economic distortion caused by massive importation of petroleum from Europe.
According to Soyode, 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 stressed the need for government to allow private sector run the downstream industry, saying that first of all, the refinery will save Nigeria from importation of refined products, which will help to boost the value of the naira. Soyode said there is no need for the federal government to continue to subside petrol.
He emphasised the need for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries and bring them to full capacity utilisation.
Soyode stated further, “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 of 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, saying “modular refinery is going to play a major role in Nigeria’s for self-sufficiency.”
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.