Stakeholders seek local refining of Africa’s crude oil amidst energy crisis
• African Refiners task Dangote, NNPC on cleaner fuels, value addition
Stakeholders at the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA), Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and Dangote Refinery have stressed the need for African countries to refine their hydrocarbon resources within the continent and reduce the importation of petroleum products.
According to them, this strategic move will aid Africa’s energy security even as the continent’s growing energy needs are met in a sustainable manner while reducing foreign exchange expended on petroleum products imports.
The experts also said the development would ensure the provision of employment and promotion of a strong market for African crude oil on the continent amidst the global push away from fossil fuels.
These points were disclosed during the visit of ARDA delegation to the NNPC Limited headquarters in Abuja and the Dangote Refinery in Lagos, under the leadership of the President of ARDA and Chief Executive Officer of SAR Refinery in Dakar, Senegal, Mme. Marième Ndoye Decraene.
The ARDA delegation also included Nigeria’s Anibor Kragha, who is the ARDA Executive Secretary and top executives from refineries and storage & distribution companies in Senegal (SAR, SENSTOCK and Elton Oil), Cote d’Ivoire (SIR and SMB), Gabon (SOGARA) and Zambia (Indeni) as well as the Department of Hydrocarbons in the Ministry of Cote d’Ivoire and ARSE, the Downstream regulator in Niger Republic.
Kragha noted the efforts of both NNPC Limited and the Dangote Refinery in refining cleaner petroleum products locally in Africa and encouraged them to pursue the production of cleaner low-sulphur fuels to meet Africa’s growing petroleum products demands and avert a potential public health crisis in the ensuing years.
According to him, ARDA has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) on the adoption of harmonized, pan-African cleaner fuel specifications (AFRI-6 standards by 2030) and has progressed very far within the AUC endorsement process.
He stated that the start-up of the 650,000 bpd Dangote Refinery, which has been designed to produce AFRI-6 (10 ppm sulphur) fuels from the onset, would be a game-changer for the continent’s clean fuels journey and bolster Africa’s energy security while significantly reducing foreign exchange utilisation on imports.
He said: “We commend what the Dangote Refinery and NNPC Limited are doing to make their refineries come on stream as soon as possible. This new refining capacity will definitely serve as a game changer for the various African economies.”
Kragha also stressed that storage and distribution infrastructure challenges across the African Downstream value chain must be addressed for the full positive impact of the incremental refining capacity to be felt by Africans.
In addition, he stated that the “Refineries of the Future” in Africa must focus on value addition by maximizing petrochemicals while reducing their overall carbon footprint.
To support such initiatives, Kragha disclosed that ARDA would be launching two funds in the near future to support bankable projects identified by its Members – one for refinery upgrades to deliver cleaner fuels and reduce carbon emission, storage and distribution infrastructure and petrochemical projects as well as another for LPG sector development to promote LPG adoption across Africa.
Mme. Decreane during her remarks, thanked both NNPC Limited and Dangote Refinery for granting the ARDA delegation access to their world-class facilities and congratulated them for their impactful investments across the African energy value chain to deliver sustainable energy solutions.
She also thanked both companies for their support of ARDA and stressed that the Association is committed to achieving the common goal of a unique, sustainable African Energy Transition Roadmap
Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, who was represented by the Executive Vice-President Downstream, NNPC Limited, Adeyemi Adetunji reiterated support for ARDA and commended its objectives while stressing the need for clear performance indicators to be enshrined in the association’s targets.
Group Executive Director at Dangote Group, Mr. Devakumar Edwin said the Dangote group’s consistent focus on value addition in all its business areas drove the vision, design and execution of the 650,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery and petrochemicals project. He confirmed the strategic investment of NNPC Limited in the refinery project and advised that once commissioned the Dangote refinery should be able to meet Nigeria’s petroleum products demand.