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Dangote Accuses IOCs of Sabotage, Criticizes Regulator Over Dirty Diesel Imports

Dangote Accuses IOCs of Sabotage, Criticizes Regulator Over Dirty Diesel Imports

Jerry Adesewo

In a significant development, Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria of deliberately undermining the success of the Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals. Edwin claims that these IOCs are intentionally making it difficult for the refinery to procure local crude oil by inflating prices above market rates, thereby compelling the refinery to import crude from distant countries such as the United States, increasing operational costs substantially.

During a one-day training session for energy editors organized by the Dangote Group, Edwin expressed his frustration over the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA)’s continued issuance of licenses for the importation of substandard diesel and jet fuel. “The Federal Government issued 25 licenses to build refineries, and we are the only ones who delivered on our promise. We deserve every support from the Government,” he stated. Edwin highlighted that over 90% of their production, amounting to more than 3.5 billion litres, has been exported since the start of production, stressing the need for governmental support to foster job creation and national prosperity.

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Edwin also pointed out that while the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is attempting to ensure domestic crude supply obligations are met, IOCs are actively thwarting these efforts. “The IOCs’ objective seems to be to ensure our refinery fails. They either demand exorbitant premiums or claim that crude is unavailable, forcing us to pay $6 above market price at times. This strategy aims to keep Nigeria as an exporter of crude oil and importer of refined products,” Edwin remarked. He criticized this approach as exploitation, accusing multinationals of prioritizing their countries’ economic gains at Nigeria’s expense.

Adding to the concerns, Edwin lamented that despite producing diesel that meets ECOWAS regulations, large quantities of high-sulphur diesel are being imported into Nigeria. “Licenses are being issued to traders who bring in ultra-high sulphur diesel from Russia, despite the harmful effects on public health. European countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have banned such exports due to their carcinogenic nature, yet they still find their way into the Nigerian market,” he said.

In recent months, Belgium and the Netherlands have taken steps to halt the export of low-quality fuels to West Africa, aligning their standards with the European Union to prevent the shipment of toxic fuels with high sulphur content. Belgium’s Minister of Environment, Zakia Khattabi, emphasized the detrimental health impacts of these exports on African countries, including Nigeria.

The ongoing practice by NMDPRA to grant import licenses for dirty diesel has pushed the Dangote refinery to seek international markets for its compliant products. Edwin noted that the refinery has successfully exported diesel and aviation fuel to Europe and other parts of the world, meeting stringent environmental standards.

In a plea for governmental intervention, Edwin urged the Federal Government and the National Assembly to expedite the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and safeguard Nigeria’s interests. “It is regrettable that despite our capacity to produce nearly double the required products domestically, import licenses for contaminated fuels are still being issued. Ghana has banned such imports, and it’s time Nigeria followed suit,” Edwin concluded.

This situation underscores the broader issues facing Nigeria’s oil industry, where local efforts to refine petroleum products are being stifled by external and internal challenges, leading to increased costs and potential public health risks. The Dangote Group’s call for regulatory and governmental support highlights the urgent need for policy alignment to protect and promote domestic refining capacities.

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