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“Petrol will soon start selling at N300/Liter If…”

By Felicia Udeji

The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, should drop to about N300/litre upon the commencement of massive production by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and other indigenous producers, operators of modular refineries stated yesterday.

However, they pointed out that this would be achieved when the government ensures the provision of adequate crude oil to local refiners, stressing that refineries abroad were ripping off Nigeria.

Speaking under the aegis of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, (CORAN) they explained that what happened to the cost of diesel after Dangote started producing it, would happen to petrol price once it is being produced massively in Nigeria.

CORAN is a registered association of modular and conventional refinery companies in Nigeria.

“A lot of companies today benefit from the importation of petroleum products at the expense of Nigerians,” the Publicity Secretary, CORAN, Eche Idoko, stated.

He told Truth Live News correspondent that “if we begin to produce PMS today in large volumes, provided there is adequate crude oil supply, I can assure that we should be able to buy PMS at N300/litre as the pump price.

“Why make Nigerians buy it at almost N700/litre when you know that if you allow refineries work the price will come down? Is it because you want to satisfy the global refiners abroad that are making so much from us?”

When told that there are arguments that it is not possible to have such a drop in price because crude oil, the raw material for PMS, is price in dollars, the CORAN official insisted that petrol price would crash once it is being produced massively by indigenous refiners.

He said, “We were selling diesel for N1,700 to N1,800/litre, but as soon as Dangote refinery started production he brought down the price to N1,200/litre. What other proofs do you need?

“As I speak to you now there is every tendency that before December diesel price will drop further.”

“The only reason why diesel is not doing below N1,000/litre is because of our exchange rate.”

“If the exchange rate drops, diesel will drop below the N1,000/litre price.

“Now the exchange rate concern is because Dangote imports crude.

“If he is not importing, the exchange rate may not have so much effect, though he is still buying crude in dollars (in Nigeria) anyway.”

“We have told them (government) that even the dollars that you are asking us to use and buy this product, it is detrimental to the country. Strengthen the naira.

“We will buy at the international market rate, but at a naira equivalent.

“These are the issues and they know these things but we can’t explain why they really can’t take decisions to change these concerns.

“Get crude to local refineries, allow crude purchase in naira equivalent, make the environment business-friendly and watch locally produced petroleum product prices crash,” Idoko stated.

Nigeria currently has 25 licensed modular refineries. Five of them are operating and producing diesel, kerosene, black oil and naphtha.

“About 10 are under various stages of completion, while the others have received licences to establish.

Operators of modular refineries earlier stated that aside from the five that are in operation currently, the remaining plants are embattled due to the major challenge of crude oil unavailability, a development that has stalled funding from financiers.

“Only about five of our members have completed their refineries. The others are having a major challenge.

“This challenge is that the people who are supposed to finance them have not disbursed financing for construction because they want some level of guarantee.

“A guarantee that if they finish the refinery, they are going to get feedstock, which, of course, is crude oil,” Idoko had explained.

Oil marketers also believe that the cost of petrol should be lower than its current price once its production begins in Nigeria.

They welcomed the comment of Dangote that his refinery should start pumping out petrol this month, and expressed hope that the cost would be less than the price which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited currently sells.

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