By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, has said the federal government-owned oil agency was not competing with Dangote Petroleum Refinery.
Africa’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote, is building a 650,000 barrel per day refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, Nigeria and the project, which was earlier scheduled for completion next month, will now be completed in some months’ time.
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, visit site of the project alongside the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Mr Sabo Nakudu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Services/member, Senate Committee, Upstream, Mr Muhammad Musa; Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Ahmed Shakur; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote; the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), Mr Ahmed Boboi; and Mr Kyari; among others.
The Minister, during the visit, pledged support of the federal government towards ensuring the completion of refinery, saying, “This is a very heart-warming moment for all of us as Nigerians.”
“There is no way a project of this magnitude will be going on and government will not be interested. Anywhere in the world, if a citizen of a country has committed so much money into investing in this kind of massive project, government must show interest,” he added.
“I must say now that Dangote Group has turned this project to the story of all of us, we must all support this project to succeed, because the success of this project signals a lot.
“Of course, I am sure that the whole world is looking at the success of this project. Investors all over the world will look at the success of this project and will come to Nigeria to at least also enjoy the benefit of investing here.
“So, we are actually here to assure you, Dangote Group, that as a government, as NNPC, we will support this project as much as we can. You have definitely done very well,” the former Governor of oil-rich Bayelsa State said.
Continuing, he said, “As you can see, the whole team is complete, and whatever your concerns are, whatever your problems are, please feel free to let us know, so that we will together find a solution to problems that you might encounter. Because of course, in project of this magnitude, you cannot expect that you will not have problems.”
Mr Sylva further said the Dangote Refinery was a testament that the country possesses enabling environment for businesses to thrive and added that the success of the project will boost investors’ confidence in the country’s oil and gas project, imploring Nigerians to support the refinery project with a view to ensuring that it creates more value addition to the economy.
Head of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, while speaking during the tour, said that “we are not competing with Dangote but complimenting each other to boost production capacity. Our objective is the same, to make Nigeria a net exporter of crude. We can’t do this until we have complementary activities between the private sector and government.”
“ln the next five years, Dangote will add 650,000 barrels, government with 445,000 barrels with others companies coming up to boost capacity,” he said.
In his remarks, Group President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote, stated that, “We believed in Nigeria and if we don’t do it ourselves, nobody will come down to do it for us. There is three per cent growth population increase annually in Nigeria, so, apart from that Nigeria are supposed to meet the needs of West, East and Central Africa in terms of supply.”
Similarly, Mr Devakumar Edwin, the company’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, said that the asset creates market for 11billion per annum of Nigerian crude and can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products.
He said that Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer, but lacks refining capacity to meet its own fuel needs.
“The Dangote refinery, which is designed to maximise petrol output, will produce enough to allow for a small surplus of that fuel for export. It will also be able to send a large volume of diesel and jet fuel to international markets,” he said.
Mr Edwin disclosed that Dangote plans to take advantage of local crude supply, adding that it won’t participate in the crude-for-fuel swap deal that is managed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“We are going to buy the crude just at the export price and will sell our products at the import price, the crude swap is operating only for the importers of the product. The new refinery has been designed to process varieties of crude from sweet to light crude sourced both locally, and abroad.
“Dangote plans to export its diesel to Europe and gasoline to Latin America, Western and Central African markets,” Mr Edwin said.
He said that evacuation of refined products will be done by sea and through roads.
“We are thinking of investing in vessels. We want to make sure we are not held for ransom by any transport operators. Africa’s largest oil refinery had revealed that it would deliver its fuels to Nigerian consumers via roads and sea ports, and will effectively replace all of Nigeria’s fuel imports once fully operational,” he said.
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