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Dirty fuel: NMDPRA tackles Dangote executive

Fuel subsidy

By Emmanuella Anokam

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has dismissed the claim by the the Vice President of Dangote Group that dirty fuels were being imported into the country by the international oil companies.

The Vice President, Oil and Gas, at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Devakumar Edwin said this while accusing IOCs in Nigeria of doing everything to frustrate the survival of Dangote Refinery.

Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals had accused the Authority of granting licenses to oil marketers to import dirty fuel into the country.

But NMDPRA dismissed the claim as it asserted that that only quality petroleum products are consumed by Nigerians.

Mr Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, made this known while speaking with newsmen after a meeting with the oil marketers and local refiners on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ukoha, while addressing newsmen said the sulphur content in the fuel even in this June was not above the lawful limit.

“There is no dirty fuel being brought in and I have given you the statistics for June.

“What we have on the average from the imports have continued to go down from 200 Parts Per Million (PPM) on the average and now we have it far below the 50 PPM that is provided under the law,” he said.

He recalled that the ECOWAS), Heads of States in 2020 endorsed a declaration, adopting the African Fuel Roadmap that requires that certain products have as a minimum 50PPT per a million litres of sulphur.

The Executive Director said while it encouraged almost an immediate enforcement, on import to comply with that standard, the same treaty deferred enforcement for local refiners up to Dec. 31, 2024.

According to him, though the time for enforcement on local refineries is not due, the plants are complying on their own.

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“And with the refineries there is no need to enforce that until the end of this year. But they themselves are already taking steps to see that is also guaranteed,” he said.

Ukoha noted that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in 2021, Section 318 also captured and upheld the ECOWAS treaty.

“So as an Authority what have we done since we came into being? We started by engendering compliance. We saw a downward trend up to 2022-2023 December,” he said.

The Executive Director admitted there was a spike in the sulphur content of imported products between December 2023 and January 2024, which resulted in a vigorous enforcement in February.

“In December and in January 2024, we noticed a spike in the sulphur content of products being imported. And again now began strong enforcement from Feb. 1,

“I am happy to tell Nigerians that up until as we speak in June, the average sulphur content in every Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) that is brought into Nigeria is far below what the 50 PPM provision is in the law,’’ he said.

According to him, the new refineries are even built with plant sulphurisation limit which will reduce it to 10PPM.

“But we are not very anxious about that because even the new refineries that are coming on have within their design of the plants the sulphurisation limit that we will see in the nearest future going down as low as 10PPM.

“So, I will like to assure Nigeria that this is a mandate that the Authority takes very seriously and that we are here to guarantee the wellbeing and health of Nigeria and there is no dirty fuel we will encourage to come into Nigeria,” he said.

Ukoha further said that the meeting with the oil marketers and refiners was aimed at promoting collaboration in a manner that would guarantees energy security within the country.

“Our discussions covered considerable issues, very significant and profound. Issues of pricing, competition have been raised and we will continue to engage with every operator to see that we land at a place that is ultimately beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians,” he added.

Also, Gabriel Ogbechie, the Group Managing Director of Rain Oil Limited said the meeting agreed on level playing field for efficient collaboration in the sector. (NAN)

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