Nigerian govt bows to pressure, gives approval for Dangote, modular refineries to pay naira for crude

The federal government of Nigeria appears to have bowed to pressure from domestic crude oil refiners like Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant and other modular refinery operators in the sector and has given approval for them to have the option to pay naira or dollar for crude oil.

The government made this disclosure through the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) at a briefing in Abuja, where it unveiled the new template for domestic crude oil supply obligation.

It would be recalled that the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria had been mounting pressure on the federal government to demand that crude oil be sold to them in the domestic currency as they were facing increasing challenges in accessing FX stating that they may be forced to close shop if nothing was done to ameliorate the situation.

The Publicity Secretary of the association Eche Idoko had lamented that the purchase of crude oil in dollars is currently the major challenge to modular refineries while disclosing that they buy crude in dollars and sell refined products in naira which they described as a major challenge.

“And apart from that, where do you get the dollars to pay for the crude? You heard the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria crying out recently about the dollar saga. We have requested that crude oil be sold to us in naira. And when you do this, you ease the pressure on the naira and this will make our diesel cheaper.

“It will encourage more investors to build and patronise the local refineries. If you take petroleum products off the foreign exchange market, you would have helped the naira by 60 per cent” he had said

Reacting to this at a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, the Executive Secretary\ Chief Executive Officer, NUPRC, Engr Gbenga Komolafe disclosed that based on the provisions of Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the NUPRC in a landmark move, had developed a template guiding the activities for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation which was arrived at in conjunction with relevant stakeholders from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, representatives of Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery came up with the template for the buy-in of all.

Komolafe stated that, as approved in the new template, payment for crude would be either in naira or dollar, adding that naira transactions would free the pressure on the country’s foreign exchange rate.

The NUPRC boss also pointed out that the template had become effective because all necessary parties had signed up for it.

He said, “The PIA intends to make the implementation (of crude oil obligation) very easy for the parties, both for the producers and refineries. So the answer simply is that the currency for the transaction would either be in naira or dollar. That is the simple answer.

“But we all know that if the transaction is carried out in naira, that itself will free the pressure on the exchange rate. That will help the exchange rate. So that is the intent and besides, the overall intent of the Petroleum Industry Act is to develop our midstream, which is a very laudable provision of the PIA.”

In the currency of payment section of the new template, it was stated that “the payment shall be in either United States dollar or naira or both. Where the payment is in both currencies, the payment split shall be as agreed in the SPA between the producer and the refiner

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