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FG May Sell Warri, Kaduna Refineries

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  • FG May Sell Warri, Kaduna Refineries

There are indications that the Federal Government will sell two of its three crude oil refineries that are found to have become commercially unviable as part of measures to boost the nation’s refining sector.

The two refineries likely to be sold, according to a report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation obtained by our correspondent on Friday, are the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company

The NNPC said last week that the consolidated capacity utilisation of the three government-owned refineries dropped to 23.09 per cent in May, from 24.59 per cent in April.

The third refinery being managed by the NNPC is the Port Harcourt Refining Company.

Although the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in the new National Petroleum Policy approved by the Federal Executive Council, said the government aimed to make the refineries successful and commercially viable enterprises, it stressed that government was ready to sell any of them that failed to meet respond promptly.

It said, “They will be encouraged to become so and will be supported as much as it is within the government’s ability to do so. Each refinery will be given a transition period in which to set themselves up on their own feet.

“Ultimately though, if a refinery fails to make the transition and become commercially viable, the petroleum policy is for the government to divest (sell off), grant a concession or if necessary, close down any non-performing government-owned refinery. In either instance, the site may be handed over to a suitably qualified private sector developer to build a new refinery facility on the same site.”

According to the policy document, of the three NNPC refineries, Port Harcourt is expected to be the best place to succeed.

It said, “It has installed its own independent gas-fired power supply; it has undertaken its own turnaround maintenance; it is close to jetties and the pipeline length from crude oil suppliers is short (less of a pipeline security risk), and it is operationally ready to produce refined products to international standards, although the cost structure is still not right.

“Of the three, Kaduna is perhaps the least ready currently because of its distance from crude oil supplies and reliance on a poorly maintained crude oil pipeline.”

The government described a strong refining sector as a basic requirement for the achievement of the vision of converting the nation’s economy from a crude oil export to an oil product and derivative value-added economy.

It said without strong, high volume and commercially viable refineries within the country, the whole vision would not be achievable.

The government noted that the refineries had been underperforming for many years, stressing the need for the refining sector to undergo fundamental reform so that it could play its central part in economic development.

According to the policy document, steps that the government will take to encourage the development of a viable refining sector in the country include making the NNPC refineries become autonomous profit centres and returning storage depot assets to the refineries.

It said under the restructuring of the NNPC, the refineries would be set up as independent profit centres with responsibility for their own commercial operations.

The government noted that the storage depots were originally part of the refineries but had been subsequently transferred from the refineries to Pipeline and Product Marketing Company.

It said, “This arrangement is not considered to have been successful. The PPMC has failed to manage the depots effectively and the refineries have been denied an important part of their assets. The storage depots will, therefore, be returned to the refineries.

“In addition, the perimeter fence around the refineries will be set sufficiently far from the operations including depots to ensure that proper security can be maintained. Everything inside the perimeter fence will belong to the refinery solely and will be on each refinery’s asset register.”

The government said as part of their new independence, each of the refineries would be given commercial autonomy, meaning that they would be free to take crude oil from wherever they could get it.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021

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Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.

The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.

Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.

This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.

Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.

That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.

Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.

If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.

“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.

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UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?

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Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.

The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.

Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.

“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.

“He is raising taxes under the radar.

“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”

Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”

Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.

Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.

“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses.  This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”

He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act.  But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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