The Federal Government FG, on Tuesday, declared that there was no importation of dirty fuel into Nigeria, countering the recent position of an official of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

It declared this after meeting with oil marketers and local refiners of crude oil in Abuja, where parties at the meeting discussed issues about refined products’ pricing, issues of competition and the importation of products that are produced in Nigeria.

Also at the meeting, oil marketers stated that though local refineries were producing some of the refined products, this would not stop marketers from patronising other sources, while also buying products from the indigenous producers.

Speaking through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, while reacting to claims of dirty fuel importation to Nigeria, the government stated that refined petroleum products with high-sulphur contents were last imported in February, stressing that this had since been addressed by the regulator.

The Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha, disclosed this to journalists after the regulator concluded its meeting with the oil marketers and local crude oil refiners, which had officials from Dangote refinery and modular refineries.

“There is no dirty fuel that is being brought into Nigeria,” Ukoha declared when asked to react to the allegations levelled against the NMDPRA by a senior official of the Dangote refinery.

It was reported on Monday that the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, accused the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

He had stated that even though Dangote was producing and bringing diesel into the market, complying with the regulations of the Economic Community of West African States, “licences are being issued, in large quantities, to traders who are buying the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian market.”

“Some of the European countries were so alarmed about the carcinogenic effect of the extra high sulphur diesel being dumped into the Nigerian market that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands imposed a ban on such fuel being exported from its country, into West Africa recently. Sadly, the country is giving import licences for such dirty diesel to be imported into Nigeria when we have more than adequate petroleum refining capacity locally.”

But responding to this on Tuesday, the Federal Government’s agency insisted that it had adopted all the stipulated procedures required for the importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria to halt the inflow of dirty fuels.

It further stated that refineries in Nigeria were also taking steps to see that the refined products that they produce conformed with the standards approved by ECOWAS for the region.

Ukoha said, “NMDPRA takes very seriously its statutory mandates to ensure that only quality petroleum products are supplied and consumed in Nigeria. A lot of people do not know the backgrounds that I’m to provide now.

“The ECOWAS heads of states in 2020 endorsed a declaration adopting a fuel roadmap that requires that certain products should have as a minimum 50 parts per million litres of sulphur. Whilst it encouraged almost immediate enforcement against imports to comply with standards, the same treaty deferred enforcements for local refiners up to December 31, 2024.

“Now the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act), when it was passed in 2021, section 317 also captured and upheld these ECOWAS treaties. 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 till December 2023.

“However, in December 2023 and January this year, we noticed a spike in the sulphur contents of products being imported and we again began strong enforcement from February 1. But I am happy to tell Nigerians that up until June, and till now as we speak, the average sulphur content in every AGO that is brought into Nigeria is below the 50ppm position in the law.”

With the local refiners, Ukoha stated that the declaration deferred it, adding, “So they continue to produce at a higher level, but we are not very anxious about that because even the new refineries that are coming in have within the design of their plants, the sulphurisation units that will see in the nearest future that sulphur goes down to as low as 10ppm.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here