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Dangote’s battle for survival in the midst of oil cabal

The national lawmakers should be thinking about new laws that would make Nigerian crude available to local refinaries at subsidized rates

By Valentine Amanze

(02-07-2024)

The last has not been heard about Nigeria government’s romance with the Dangote Refinary management.

The Dangote Group of Companies is one of the few surviving firms in Nigeria. From inception, it enjoyed government’s patronage to the detriment of other competitors like Ibeto.

In May 21, 2023, former President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated Dangote Petroleum Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos. At the occasion, Buhari boasted that the facility, which he described as a gamechanger, would enable Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in refined products and even have surplus for export.

A year after, the Dangote Refinary failed to change the game. Like the governmented that incubated it, Dangote refinery has given the reason for its inability to make available the locally refined products to Nigerians.

In June 22, 2024, the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of frustrating the survival of the new Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals.

Edwin said that the IOCs were “deliberately and willfully frustrating” the refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by hiking the cost above the market price, thereby forcing the refinery to import crude from countries as far as the U.S, with its attendant high costs.

Edwin also accused the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country.

Edwin further disclosed that the Federal Government issued 25 licences for the construction of refineries in Nigeria, but only the Dangote Group delivered on its promise.

Dangote Refinery | File Image

While calling for the government’s support, Edwin said that more than 3.5 billion litres of diesel and aviation fuel had been exported to Europe by the refinery in the past few months.

Quite revealing. Why has the Bola Tinubu-led administration not responded to the allegation?

The silence of the federal government on the allegation is admission of guilt.

Also read: Dangote Refinery: Waiting for Buhari’s game changer

Why will the Nigerian authority deny crude oil to a local company –

Dangote Group – in preference to the IOCs?

Many Nigerians are aware that the government is not sincere on the management of oil resources.

The oil business is run like cult – the more you look the less you see.

No wonder, in May 29, 2023, when Tinubu was sworn in as president, his first assignment was the removal oil subsidy and made himself the petroleum minister.

His predecessor Muhammadu Buhari also held the ministry for eight years without a functional local refinery. He was also the petroleum minister during the military regime in 1976.

The idea of the president heading the nation’s petroleum ministry is suspicious, even as his children are all businessmen, managing their father’s oil wells and other businesses.

Also, for the Dangote Group to raise the alarm signifies that the Pharaoh that did not know Joseph had taken over; denying it all previllages it enjoyed during the Buhari tenure.

But the frustration by the IOCs could be likened to Dangote chasing other competitors out of cement business using the government connection.

 What goes around comes around. IOCs are the international cabal in oil business that must be avoided by any sincere government because of their shrewed way. They lack morales in business; they control and determine the price in dollars to the detriment of the local currency.

They are also said to be behind the importation of the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian market.

The dumping of the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia in the Nigerian market is serious. No wonder cancer cases now out-number that of other ailments in Nigerian hospitals.

If the allegation is true, what has Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) done to save Nigerians from the use of the fuel from Russia?

Tinubu owes Nigerians explanation on why the three refineries under his supervision are not functional despite all the monies injected in them.

The national lawmakers should be thinking about new laws that would make Nigerian crude available to local refinaries at subsidized rates. It has to look into the case of modular refineries. It they are recognized and regulated by the federal government the price of petroleum products would reduce.

The government must examine the frustration of the Dangote Group on its local refinery and provide solution.

If Dangote Refinary goes the way of Port Harcourt Refinary, Warri Refinary and that of Kaduna, the dare consequence of unemployment will be too heavy for the country.

 What is the essence of looking for foreign investors when the government cannot protect the local ones?

A word is enough for the wise.

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