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We Owe Banks $1bn, Oil Marketers Lament

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Oil Declines Below 60USD A Barrel
  • We Owe Banks $1bn, Oil Marketers Lament

Oil marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Products Importers have said they owe some Nigerian banks over $1bn used for the importation of petroleum products, with accumulated interest of N160bn.

They said the interest had accumulated because the government could not pay them or pay the banks’ interest on the loans as agreed, adding that the inability to pay or service the loans had stalled the importation of fuel.

The IPPI, in a communiqué signed by its Legal Adviser, Mr. Patrick Etim, after a meeting in Lagos, stated that some of the marketers, which included members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, had begun to close shops due to the indebtedness.

According to the communiqué, the marketers are unable to pay because the sums they owe the banks form part of what they are in turn owed by the government.

It stated that the government’s debt arose from the petrol subsidy scheme whereby the Federal Government entered into a contract with the IPPI mandating the members to import and supply petrol to the market on condition that it would pay to the body the difference between the landing cost of and pump price as fixed by the government, provided that the landing cost was higher than the selling price.

It said, “When the selling price of petrol was increased from N97 to N145 per litre in May 2016, it was based on an exchange rate of N285/$1, resulting in a 45 per cent increase. On June 20, 2016, the naira was devalued from N285/$1 to N305/$1, which is an increase of seven per cent, but the fixed pump selling price of petrol has not been increased. This means that petrol must be subsidised.

“The banks are worried that financing new petrol imports when outstanding loans, interests and charges have not been paid will be foolish, especially when it is clear that the imports will represent an unmitigated loss to the importers based on the landing costs.”

According to the communiqué, the claims by the IPPI arose largely from the importation of petroleum cargoes authorised by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government under the subsidy scheme.

The association noted, “It is said that government is a continuum, therefore, the contracts of the President Jonathan government with the IPPI will remain binding on successive governments. There is a need for President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to keep improving governance, especially by correcting the wrongs of previous governments, and making the government responsible to its contracts and responsibilities.

“Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, has initiated intervention programmes for strategic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, petroleum products’ importation and aviation. The CBN’s intervention programmes are primarily to stimulate growth in Nigeria’s foreign exchange earning capacity, and to prevent collapse of the banking system due to the huge exposure of the banks.

“The CBN has also offered foreign exchange to the IPPI under a special window aimed at liquidating outstanding matured Letters of Credit at an exchange rate of N305/$1. However, the exchange rate of N197/$1 when the Letters of Credit were initially opened for the IPPI members and transactions concluded and the current CBN offer rate of N305/$1 is an increase of 55 per cent and a significant rate differential.”

It added, “This means that for every 15,000MT of petrol imported by the IPPIs at a rate of $500 per metric tonne and whose foreign exchange differential claims has not been paid, then it means that the cargo of 15,000MT imported at the N197/$1 rate will now be given foreign exchange at the rate of N305/$1; by implication, a cargo of 15,000MT at $500 per MT is $7,500,000 or N1,477,500,000 at N197/$1 rate, or N2,287,500,000 at N305/$1.00 rate.

“If these outstanding payments to the IPPIs are made at N305/$1, they will suffer a loss of N810,000,000 per 15,000MT cargo of petrol. Government’s delay in paying debts to the IPPIs and the difficulty they face in procuring forex at equitable rates will likely see the extinction of many of the IPPIs in 2017 thereby, creating petroleum products’ shortages and attendant insecurity.”

Meanwhile, the group financial loss of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation increased to N180.48bn in November 2016.

According to the latest operations and financial report of the NNPC released in Abuja on Monday, the national oil firm’s loss increased from N161.8bn in October last year to N180.48bn in November.

The latest losses were NNPC’s total deficit beginning from January 2016 up until the month under review.

The corporation also recorded a year-to-date revenue of N1.52tn as against an expense of N1.7tn.

The report indicated a trading deficit of N18.72bn by the corporation for the month of November alone.

This represents an increase of N1.87bn against the trading deficit recorded in October.

The NNPC said, “The marginal increase in the trading deficit was due to an upsurge in the Integrated Data Services Limited’s operating costs, which is attributed to the ongoing mobilisation activities in both the Benue Trough seismic data project located in Bauchi, and Party 05 in Elele, Rivers State, despite an improved revenue generation.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Dangote Refinery Struggles Amid Alleged IOC Sabotage, Calls for Government Support

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Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) in Nigeria of undermining the operations of Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals.

Edwin claims that these IOCs are deliberately obstructing the refinery’s efforts to purchase local crude oil by inflating prices above market rates, compelling the refinery to import crude from as far afield as the United States at significant additional costs.

Speaking at a one-day training programme for Energy Editors organized by the Dangote Group, Edwin expressed his frustration over the challenges faced by the refinery.

“While the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is trying their best to allocate crude to us, the IOCs are deliberately frustrating our efforts to buy local crude. They are either asking for an excessive premium or claiming crude is unavailable. At one point, we paid $6 above the market price, forcing us to reduce output and import crude, increasing our production costs,” Edwin lamented.

The refinery, which began production recently, has exported over 3.5 billion liters of fuel, representing 90% of its output.

However, Edwin warned that the IOCs seem intent on ensuring that Nigeria remains dependent on imported refined petroleum products by exporting raw materials to their home countries and re-importing the refined products, thereby creating employment and wealth abroad while Nigeria grapples with unemployment and economic challenges.

Edwin also criticized the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) for indiscriminately issuing licenses to importers, leading to an influx of substandard, high-sulfur diesel and other refined products into Nigeria.

“Despite our compliance with ECOWAS regulations and standards, dirty diesel from Russia is being dumped into the Nigerian market. This has serious health implications for Nigerians,” he stated.

In recent months, reports from Agence-France Presse highlighted the detrimental impact of these imports, with high-sulfur fuels linked to carcinogenic effects.

European countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already banned the export of such fuels to West Africa, citing their harmful impact on air quality and public health.

Edwin urged the Nigerian government and regulators to provide necessary support to ensure the refinery’s success.

“The Federal Government issued 25 licenses to build refineries, and we are the only one that delivered on our promise. We deserve every support from the government to create jobs and prosperity for the nation,” he asserted.

He also appealed to the National Assembly to expedite the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to safeguard Nigeria’s interests and ensure that the country’s refining capacity is fully utilized.

“Ghana has banned the importation of highly contaminated diesel and petrol into their country through legislation. It is regrettable that, in Nigeria, import licenses are granted despite knowing that we have the capacity to produce nearly double the amount of products needed domestically and export the surplus,” Edwin concluded.

The Dangote Refinery’s predicament underscores the broader challenges facing Nigeria’s energy sector, where regulatory and market dynamics continue to pose significant hurdles for local enterprises striving to boost domestic production and reduce dependence on imports.

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Experts Predict Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones Could Generate More Than N11.11tn

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Economic experts are optimistic about the potential of Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) to boost the nation’s economy significantly.

According to recent analysis, these zones could generate more than the N11.11 trillion they have already remitted to the Federation Account as of October 2023.

The Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Muda Yusuf, said the FTZs will help facilitate forex.

“Nigeria’s urgent need for foreign exchange necessitates leveraging our free zones to enhance non-oil export revenue and reduce dependency on crude oil earnings,” Yusuf stated.

He pointed out the success stories of other countries, notably Dubai, which has effectively utilized its free zones to generate foreign exchange and attract significant investments.

“Our free zones must strive to do more, as we are still heavily reliant on oil and gas for our foreign exchange earnings. Increased investment in these areas is crucial,” he added.

Supporting this perspective, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Olufemi Ogunyemi, recently highlighted the economic contributions of the FTZs while addressing the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade, and Investment.

Ogunyemi noted that these zones have created substantial wealth for the states hosting them and generated significant revenue for various agencies.

“Agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service, the Immigration Services, and the Nigerian Ports Authority have seen revenues of N59.38 billion, N828.7 million, and N8.738 billion, respectively, while states have received N998 million in Pay As You Earn (PAYE) remittances,” Ogunyemi reported.

He also highlighted the broader impact of the FTZs, noting that as of the end of 2023, the 46 licensed zones had provided 38,429 direct jobs and an additional 172,930 indirect jobs.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $491.8 million and local direct investment amounting to N1.15 trillion have flowed into these zones, with N1.62 trillion worth of cargo imported from 2019 to 2023, saving scarce foreign exchange.

David Adonri, Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, praised NEPZA’s achievements, suggesting that the government use these successes to encourage more Nigerians to start manufacturing businesses within the FTZs.

“The remittances from the free trade zones are commendable and should be a marketing tool to attract more investments,” Adonri said.

However, some experts believe there is room for improvement. Professor Olusegun Ajibola of Babcock University argued that while the remittances are noteworthy, they are not yet at a level worth celebrating.

“The government needs to intensify efforts in revenue generation from these zones as they were established at a significant cost to the host states,” Ajibola remarked.

He called for a review of the 32-year-old NEPZA Act to address any challenges and enhance the performance of the FTZs.

As Nigeria continues to seek ways to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on oil, the FTZs present a promising avenue. With strategic investments and robust management, these zones could indeed surpass their current contributions, fostering economic growth and stability for the nation.

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Nigeria’s Dangote Refinery Breaks Into Asian Market with LSSR Shipment

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

In a historic move, Dangote Refinery is set to ship low-sulfur straight-run fuel oil (LSSR) from Nigeria to Singapore this week, its entry into the Asian market.

This development represents a significant milestone for the refinery, which began operations in January following a $20 billion investment.

According to ship tracking data and market sources, the refinery will initiate a new trade route from Nigeria to Asia, a region that consistently demands low-sulfur fuel oil for ship refueling at Singapore, the world’s largest bunker hub.

The Glencore-chartered vessel, Front Brage, will deliver approximately 124,000 metric tons (787,400 barrels) of LSSR to Singapore, with the shipment expected to arrive on Wednesday.

The Dangote Refinery, with a processing capacity of up to 650,000 barrels of products per day, is poised to become the largest refinery in Africa and Europe once it reaches full capacity.

Since March, the refinery has increased its LSSR exports, primarily sending cargoes to the Americas and Europe, as reported by ship tracking data from Kpler and Vortexa.

“This first shipment to Asia marks a new chapter in Dangote Refinery’s expansion strategy,” said a market analyst. “Breaking into the Asian market underscores the refinery’s growing influence and its capability to meet diverse global fuel demands.”

Market sources suggest that the cargo was redirected to Asia due to weaker demand in Europe. Data from LSEG indicates that the east-west spread for front-month 0.5 percent LSFO, reflecting the price difference between these regions, stayed above $40 per ton this week.

Dangote’s LSSR cargoes are priced against Rotterdam’s 0.5 percent LSFO quotes on a free-on-board basis, although the specific pricing differential for this shipment was not disclosed by market sources.

This pioneering shipment is the beginning of a series of exports to Asia. Another LSSR shipment from the Dangote refinery, containing around 157,000 tons, is expected to reach Singapore in July aboard the vessel Stena Suede, based on ship tracking data.

LSSR is typically blended with other fuels to create low-sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) for bunkering or used as feedstock in various refinery processes.

This export initiative not only diversifies Dangote Refinery’s market reach but also enhances Nigeria’s position in the global energy market.

In February, Dangote began exporting oil products and started purchasing crude oil, mainly from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd, in December 2023.

The refinery’s successful entry into the Asian market is anticipated to drive further growth and establish new trade relationships, reinforcing its status as a key player in the global oil industry.

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This landmark export not only demonstrates Dangote Refinery’s operational capabilities but also signals Nigeria’s expanding influence in the global energy sector. As the refinery continues to innovate and expand, it is well-positioned to meet the increasing global demand for cleaner, more efficient fuels.

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