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Marketers eye cheaper fuel as Dangote Refinery opens tomorrow

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As the Dangote Refinery begins operations tomorrow (Monday), oil marketers have expressed optimism that the facility will help reduce the cost of petrol, if the government deregulates the commodity.
The Dangote Refinery, established by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is scheduled to be inaugurated on May 22.

A presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, had tweeted that the inauguration would be done by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“Efforts by the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of crude oil to save the scarce foreign exchange used in the importation of petroleum products have received a boost as the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery, the world’s largest single-train refinery, is set for inauguration on May 22nd, 2023, by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Ahmad announced.

Speaking on the expected impact of the facility during an interview with our correspondent on Saturday, the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo, said the refinery would not only create jobs, but would reduce the cost of deregulated petrol.

He stated, “That refinery is going to create further hope for this nation. It will create a lot of jobs and ensure availability of products. The time spent in importing petroleum products will be eliminated and Nigeria will gain a lot from it, moving forward.”

On whether the facility would have an impact on petroleum products’ prices, Okonkwo said, “Dangote is a private businessman who is out to make money, but one thing is that if the petroleum business is deregulated, the products will be cheaper. This is because the cost of freight, carrying the crude and refining it and bringing it back as refined products will be addressed and that value alone will be an advantage for the country.”

When asked further to explain whether this implied that petrol would be cheaper once deregulated and the refinery starts producing, the IPMAN president replied, “Yes, at least it will reduce the stress around availability and affordability.”

Okonkwo encouraged oil marketers to support the Dangote Refinery, noting that the facility would not only attract more revenue to operators, but would serve for the betterment of all Nigerians.

“It is our own, because what is needed mostly by my members is the availability of products so that as we make a living from the business of selling petrol, it will help everybody in the system,” Okoronkwo stated.

The 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery, estimated to cost over $19bn, is an integrated refinery project under construction in the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos, Nigeria. It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility.

The company, on its website, said the refinery would meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products and also have a surplus of each of these products for export.

“Dangote Petroleum Refinery is a multi-billion dollar project that will create a market for $21bn per annum of Nigerian crude. It is designed to process Nigerian crude with the ability to also process other crude.”

The announcement of the planned inauguration of the facility on May 22 had also elicited excitement and expectations among Nigerians, industry operators, government officials and other stakeholders.

“We are optimistic and excited to know that the refinery is set for inauguration, considering the humongous benefits that it is going to have on not just the oil sector, but also on the Nigerian economy,” the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, had stated.

He told our correspondent that operators were hopeful that the facility would eradicate cases of poor petroleum product supply that often led to incessant scarcity of petrol across the country.

“With the coming onboard of the Dangote Refinery, we believe that Nigeria will say goodbye to PMS scarcity as well as the poor supply of other petroleum products,” Ukadike stated.

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