National Assembly may bar Dangote Refinery, others from importing crude

The National Assembly may make new laws or amend the existing ones to prevent private refineries from importing crude oil into Nigeria.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance stated that it would be a disservice to the country to have abundance of crude while investors in the refineries were allowed to buy petroleum products from other countries.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Melee Kyari, had on Wednesday told the committee that apart from the Federal Government securing an equity stake of 20 per cent at $2.7bn in Dangote Refinery, the NNPC had to reach a deal with the company to secure a market for the country’s crude.

According to him, Dangote Refinery can choose where to buy crude for processing.

“We structured our equity participation on the basis of the fact that this refinery must buy at least 300,000 barrels per day of our production into this refinery. This guarantees your market,” Kyari said.

Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, however, expressed the reservations of the lawmakers.

He said, “If it is true that those who are investing in refinery construction in Nigeria, have in the agreements or whatever they have signed with Nigeria, that they can buy crude oil anywhere because they operate in a free trade zone, then those who have signed those documents must have done a disservice to Nigeria.

“I thought that the idea of investment in refineries in Nigeria, even though it is a free trade zone, should be able to utilise our crude oil. But if it is not, then, what is the essence?”

Responding, Kyari stated, “There is no document signing of this nature. Once you establish a refinery, the basic thing you must do is to have your fixed stock and that fixed stock cannot be enforced on any refinery anywhere in the world.”

Dissatisfied, Faleke said, “We can also make a law to make any import of crude oil to be contraband. We cannot have a product and somebody else will be importing the same product and kill our own economy. No way! We are ready to fight this and defend the country.”

While responding to another question by the lawmakers, the GMD of NNPC said the Petroleum Industry Act and the Dangote Refinery would end product importation in the country.

Kyari, who indicated that the NNPC had since made profits, said it would be officially announced by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

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