The Dangote Refinery, which was anticipated to commence production in August according to Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group, has not yet begun production. President Dangote had announced during the official commissioning of the refinery by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May that the first product would be in the market by the end of July or the beginning of August.
However, weeks have passed beyond the promised production deadline, and there have been no reports of any refined petroleum products from the refinery reaching the market.
In June, Garba Deen, the spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, had stated that the company planned to reduce its fuel imports program in August once the Dangote Refinery began producing refined petroleum products.
A source within the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria also confirmed that NNPCL had reduced its importation activities. Similarly, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, Farouk Ahmed, mentioned the reduction in importation while addressing journalists after a meeting with oil marketers in June.
As of the time of this report, officials from the Communications Department of Dangote Refinery could not provide any information on the matter. An unnamed source within the refinery indicated that the management was uncertain about when petrol refining would commence at the Ibeju-Lekki facility, stating, “For now, the management has not come out with any official date.”
Festus Osifo, the President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, advised the Federal Government to prioritize the completion of the Port Harcourt refinery rather than focusing solely on the Dangote refinery. Osifo argued that concentrating on other refineries would reduce freight costs from imports and ultimately lower prices.
He also emphasized that Dangote, as a private businessman, could choose to cease refining in the future, even though the government holds a 20 percent stake in the refinery. He urged the government to provide a timeline for when the Port Harcourt refinery would begin refining petrol.
Mike Osatuyi, the National Controller Operations of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, reassured that there was no need for alarm regarding petrol supply, as NNPCL was still importing.
He speculated that internal challenges may have caused the delay in production at the Dangote refinery. Osatuyi also recommended that the Federal Government focus on ensuring other local refineries come online rather than relying solely on the Dangote refinery.
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