• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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NMDPRA denies dirty fuel importation

NMDPRA denies dirty fuel importation

The Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has denied claims made by the Dangote Refinery on the importation of dirty fuel into the country, stating that it takes seriously its mandate to ensure that only quality petroleum products are supplied within and consumed in Nigeria.

Devakumar Edwin, the vice president, oil and gas, at Dangote Industries Limited, had decried the activity of the NMDPRA in granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

Edwin also accused international oil companies (IOCs) in Nigeria of deliberately and wilfully frustrating the Dangote Refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by jerking up high premium price above the market price, thereby forcing it to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.

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But reacting, Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, distribution systems, storage and retailing infrastructure, Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), who addressed journalists, following a meeting with oil marketers and local refiners in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that the authority has continued to ensure that only safe products are brought into the country.

According to him, the ECOWAS heads of state in 2020 endorsed a declaration adopting the fuel roadmap that requires that certain products have a minimum of 50 parts per million litres of sulphur. He added that while it encourages almost immediate enforcement against imports to comply with that standard, the same treaty deferred enforcement for local refineries up to 31 December 2024.

“Now the PIA when it was passed in 2021 in section 317 also captured and upheld this 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 2023 December. In December and January of this year, we noticed a spike in the sulphur contents of products being imported. And we again now began strong enforcement from 1 February.

“I am happy to tell Nigerians that up until we speak in June, the average sulphur content in every AGO that is brought into Nigeria is far below, the average is far below the 50 parts per million litres as provided in the law,” he said.

Ukoha noted that the average sulphur content in every automotive gas oil that is brought into Nigeria is far below, the 50 parts per million (ppm) litres as provided in the law.

He explained that the local refineries had however continued to produce at a higher level of sulphur. “But we are not very anxious about that because even the new refineries that are coming in have within their design of the plant desulphurization units that will see in the nearest future that sulphur going down as low as 10 ppm

“NMDPRA takes very seriously its statutory mandate to ensure that only quality petroleum products are supplied within and consumed in Nigeria.

“And so I would like to assure Nigerians that this is a mandate that the authority takes very seriously and that we are here to guarantee the well-being and health of Nigerians. And there is no dirty fuel that we would encourage to come into Nigeria,” he said.

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Ukoha noted that the meeting with the marketers, and refiners was aimed to promote collaboration in a manner that ensures and guarantees energy security within the country.

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

Gabriel Obeche, the group managing director of Rayner Oil Limited, stated that the meeting was aimed to provide a level playing field between the marketers and the refiners and promote collaboration between stakeholders in the industry.