Transporters across Nigeria have expressed optimism that the 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Petroleum Refinery would deepen the downstream sector and positively impact their businesses.
The transporters, under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), after a guided tour of the refinery Plant in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos, expressed optimism that the project would accelerate the development of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
In a statement from the Dangote Group, the transporters were said to have also expressed their support in the distribution of refined products from Dangote Refinery when it starts operations.
They commended the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote for his huge investment in petroleum refining and making the country one of the potential top refiners of petroleum in the world.
President of NARTO, Lawal Yusuf Othman, described Dangote as a trailblazer in the nation’s industrial development, whose contributions to economic development of the nation have helped in reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty.
It is difficult to invest billions of dollars into a sector, where prices are determined by government. Deregulation will encourage more players into the downstream sector.
Commenting the quality of work, Othman was quoted: “We are impressed with the massive project which has been regarded as the largest single train refinery in the world. The quality of the machines, the size of the refinery, and the quality of the work is of international standard. We are also very happy that there is a plan to construct the road from the refinery down to around Ijebu-Ode. The road construction is going to decongest the roads and make it easy for us to do our business.”
To encourage more players in the downstream sector, the NARTO President emphasised the need for the government to deregulate the downstream oil and gas sector fast.
“Companies are not refining because the sector is still regulated. It is difficult to invest billions of dollars into a sector, where prices are determined by the government. Deregulation will encourage more players into the downstream sector. When there is full deregulation, the government does not need to force anybody to invest in the sector. Deregulation will attract foreign and local investment into the sector,” he added.
Othman said NARTO members have been assured of the protection of their businesses when the refinery comes on stream under the Petroleum Industry Act.
He said: “As at today, imported petroleum products are distributed across the country through roads by our members. We thought that now that Dangote Refinery is coming on stream, the company might be interested in self-distribution of the products across the country without involving us. However, we have been told that the products will be distributed through the depots. So, we will partner with Dangote refinery for ease of product distribution across the country.
“We have been assured that 70 per cent of the refined products will be transported through the sea, while 30 per cent will be by trucking. Although the company has a gantry with a loading capacity of about 2,000 trucks per day, we have been assured that Dangote does not have interest in the retail of petroleum products.”