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OTL 2019: Dirty fuel products still finding ways into Nigeria

OTL 2019: Dirty fuel products still finding ways into Nigeria

UGO AMADI

Worried about the dirty petroleum products ,Operators in the nation’s downstream sector have raised concerns about the rise in the volume of unwanted commodities like dirty fuel products in the country and other Africa countries, noting that efforts should be geared towards addressing such.

According to the stakeholders, while many developed countries are embracing clean fuel, the quantity of products that are not sellable in Europe are finding their way into the shores of Africa.

Speaking at the panel seesion of the 13th Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Week, a yearly conference in Lagos, the Managing Director, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Bala Wunti, said Africa is home for products that are not wanted across the globe, calling on the need to change the narrative.

He said discussions are ongoing with different regulatory agencies to harmonise standards for petroleum products, saying all petroleum products must meet the requirements of the standards.

“There is need to create a common standard good enough for everybody and the regulation must put people into consideration. Regulation should not only be limited to fuel, but all encompassing”, he added.

The Managing Director, CITAC, Gary Still, said modest growth is expected to continue by 2020 in regards to clean fuel products.

He said education is key to achieve clean fuel products, adding that the quantity of products that are not sellable in Europe are finding their way into the shores of Africa.

He said a heavily regulated market would give opportunity to unscrupulous individuals to circumvent the market to their own personal gain.

He noted that discussions are ongoing to put an end to products that are not sellable in Europe being exported to other countries.

The Managing Director, Eterna Plc, Mahmud Tukur, said many operators in the downstream sectors are popping up without a mechanism to check if they meet the requirements to operate in the industry.

“Due to low margins in the industry, most of the operators try to cut corners by short-changing consumers under dispensing petroleum products”, he said.

He added that there are many factors responsible for under dispensing in filling stations which include regulatory oversight, lack of consistency in the industry, geographical challenge.

The Chairman, OTL Africa Downstream, Emeka Akabogu, said global economic challenges have fuelled renewed urgency to diversify operations in order to maximize the sector’s potential, noting that renewed consciousness has resulted in significant investment in key elements of the value chain, indicating a paradigm shift that emphasizes technological evolution, capacity development, supply chain efficiency and value addition.

He said from petroleum retail to haulage, marine logistics platforms and several refinery projects that aim to balance the discrepancy caused by inadequate refining capacity on the continent, there is no shortage of effort by the industry.

“However, policy development and implementation have not kept pace with the urgency of industry needs and the appetite of market operators. Nonetheless across the continent, there is no doubt that there is huge potential which is now poised for realization,” he added.

He noted that the African market remains one of the highest growth regions in the world with consumption witnessing year-on-year increase, saying that operators in key regions realise this and are keen on exploring all opportunities.

Akabogu stated: “Competition is central to doing this, which had informed the theme for this year’s event – “Achieving Downstream Competitiveness through Growth, Innovation and Technology”. With the clear realisation that patronage-based markets are not sustainable and that the future lies in opening of petroleum markets to price and value competition, the most important challenge to operators will be capacity to compete at the highest level.

“This will be driven by innovation and technology at both private and government levels. The theme will see discussions during the week focused on the range of emerging opportunities inherent in the downstream value-chain which have hitherto witnessed sub-optimal focus.”

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